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Fiji Rugby Getting Ahead of the Game

The Fiji Rugby Football Union Trust Board (FRFUTB) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new High Performance Senior Leadership team.

Through a robust international search process and independent merit-based selection, the positions of General Manager High Performance; High Performance Manager, Women’s Rugby; and Elite Pathways and Performance Manager positions have now been filled.

As a show of confidence in the overall performance of Fiji Rugby, these positions are funded generously by World Rugby’s High Performance Investment Programme.

Former England international rugby player and current High Performance (HP) Director at the Australian-based NSW Institute of Sport, B-J Mather has accepted the role of General Manager HP: B-J has a professional Doctorate and MBA with over 20 years of applied HP leadership experience in managing elite rugby and other Olympic sport programs in both England and Australia.

B-J will lead the overall HP Program with the aim of delivering sustainable international success for Fiji’s four national teams as well as building capability, capacity and development of Fijian HP coaches, managers, and other key support staff.

B-J will also ensure national alignment and close connection with the Fijian Drua Super Rugby Pacific team.

“The traditional strength of the Fiji 7s program and the recent results for the Flying Fijians in France have inspired everyone. My vision of success for Fijian rugby is to build on the outstanding work that Simon Raiwalui and his team have done in recent years in order to create a sustainable model of success for men’s and women’s rugby that will see Fiji achieving these sorts of results year after year.”

Former Wallaroo, Super W Head Coach and National Program Manager at Rugby Australia, Alana Thomas will be joining the FRFUTB as HPM, Women’s Rugby.

As a former player, coach, manager, and business accountant Alana will oversee and manage the Women’s Fijiana XVs and 7s programs.

“I’m just really excited sitting from afar and watching the Fijiana make the World Cup in 2021, and just seeing the way that they play and love the game – I’m excited to continue the massive growth and make sure the Fijiana sides are up at the top while competing at the world level,” shared Thomas.

“There have been some good foundations laid already, and for me in the next few years we’ve got 2 World Cup, 2 Olympics, Pacific Games, and Commonwealth Games, so putting the Fijiana in the top 3 in the world is the goal and they’re very capable after winning bronze at Tokyo. I honestly believe they are capable of looking at a Gold medal on the podium soon, and underpinning that, I’ve heard so much good news about our development starting at age-group rugby.”

“So having Fijiana teams performing and then having the pathways for those players coming through and looking up to those stars who are creating that pathway for them is what I’ve got to keep rolling and working with everyone,” added Thomas.

Former Flying Fijian and current FRFUTB National Teams Manager, Bill Gadolo has been promoted into the elevated role of Elite Pathways and Performance Manager overseeing all pathway, age-group and talent identification and development programs across the women’s and men’s XVs and 7s games.

Bill will also take on the responsibility of elite coach development and managing the performance services across the national teams and HP Unit.

Bill will continue his valuable management support of the Flying Fijians RWC2023 campaign and will transition into the new role, post World Cup.

“I’m excited with the appointment of the new role and I wish to acknowledge the commitment and support of my family, and I would like to acknowledge World Rugby and the Board of Trustees on their support for the appointment,” said Gadolo.

“The role offers a new challenge in my career, and I look forward to the opportunity as there is a great demand in developing our player pool and our support systems in the next Cycle and this the demand that I look forward to challenging myself with, ” added Gadolo.

Interim Chairman of FRFUTB Peter Mazey stated that Fiji Rugby will immensely benefit from the expertise of the three appointees in the next World Cup cycle prior to the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

“The Board of Trustees is very confident the experience, skills and diversity of the new FRFU HP Program leadership of B-J, Alana and Bill will make a positive impact on the future performance of our national teams and pathways.

We know that HP never stops and it’s getting harder to win on the world stage. We are prioritising an integrated model where our national teams collaborate and work together with a priority on the holistic development of the players.

Along with our valued Head Coaches, this HP leadership team will set the strategic direction, manage, and deliver the HP programs and activities to help our talented players become the world’s best.

These positions would not be possible without the support of World Rugby and we thank them for their continued support of rugby in Fiji and across the Pacific.”

B-J, Alana and Bill will commence in their respective roles over the coming months with a focus on engaging with key internal and external stakeholders and supporting the Fiji national teams prepare and perform at their upcoming pinnacle events.

For more information please contact: Venina Rakautoga – +679 5005570

© Fiji Rugby 2024