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Fiji Rugby Announces Coaching Transition Ahead of 2024 Olympic Title Defense

Suva, March 10, 2024, The Europe Today: In a strategic move just four months before the 2024 Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament in Paris, the reigning men’s champions, Fiji, have parted ways with English coach Ben Gollings and welcomed back 2016 gold medallist Osea Kolinisau as their new head coach.

Fiji created history at the 2016 Rio Games by securing their first-ever Olympic gold medal in any sport, a feat they successfully defended in Tokyo three years later. However, their recent performance on the World Rugby Sevens Series has not reflected their Olympic success, with the team failing to secure a round victory since May 2022.

Fiji Rugby Chairman Peter Mazey acknowledged Gollings’ dedication but emphasized the need to prioritize their ultimate goal of securing medals in sevens rugby at the Summer Olympics. In a statement, Mazey said, “It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Ben Gollings. We are confident that our new coach, Osea Kolinisau, will provide the leadership, guidance, and strategic direction necessary to elevate the performance of our sevens rugby team and position Fiji for success at the Summer Olympics.”

Osea Kolinisau, the flag-bearer for Fiji at the 2016 Olympics, played a pivotal role as captain when the squad clinched gold in Rio and secured back-to-back World Sevens Series titles in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Fiji Rugby also revealed their consideration for appointing a Director of Rugby for Sevens, exploring options that include Olympic-winning coaches Ben Ryan and Gareth Baber, along with Sevens legend Waisale Serevi.

The coaching transition comes ahead of the highly anticipated 2024 Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament, scheduled to take place from July 24-30 at the iconic Stade de France. With a renewed focus on reclaiming their dominance in international sevens rugby, Fiji aims to leverage Kolinisau’s experience and leadership to defend their Olympic title.