‘Support is important’

Outgoing Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber. Picture: FT FILE

One of the biggest challenges facing the new head coach of the Fiji 7s team will be to build a good relationship with everyone involved in the sport by adopting the Fijian culture.

Outgoing coach Gareth Baber revealed that the position of 7s head coach was about human nature, about people and about building relationships to take them on a journey.

Baber said when he first came in 2016, his biggest challenge was to build good relationships and was supported well by the people.

“I was supported by my family also and that was a big thing, so support is important,” Baber said.

“It would not have worked if I would have tried to do it differently. We had to be Fijian and we loved to be Fijians. It is all of those little things that sometimes can get missed in a ruthless sport, in particularly what rugby 7s is.

“It is hugely important in building that capability to take people on that journey.”

Baber’s achievements with the Fijian 7s team includes 12 tournament victories on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2018/2019 HSBC WRSS champion and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal.

The 49-year-old Welshman said he took up the Fiji 7s head coach position as a motivational challenge, not through arrogance but to back himself as a coach to exactly see what he could achieve.

“Sometimes you set your hands on a long time doing jobs that will potentially don’t take you out of your comfort zone, so I knew that coming to a team that had just won an Olympics would be a hard task. But I did back myself as a coach and I knew that I was coming to the best 7s nation in the world, so there were a couple of things that were going to be in my favour.

“I think through the period of four and a half years, we went through some changes in the team, but what you stick to what you believe in as a coach and what you believe you are authentic at in the way that you deliver.

“I think that in all that the journey that the players go on is mirrored by the journey that the coach goes on as well. That sort of coincides at the right time and it isn’t always under control.

“As a coach there are two teams on the field and obviously when you go and play in a series event, you are playing six different teams. Anyone of those can grab you at any time but you have to stick true to what you are.”

Baber has taken up the role as the new skills and assistant attack coach of Edinburgh Rugby in Scotland.

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