FRU offer to extend Baber’s 7s contract

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber and FRU CEO John O’Connor. Picture: RAMA/FT FILE

The Fiji Rugby Union has offered to extend Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber’s contract for another three years.

Union chief executive officer John O’Connor said the board had endorsed the Welshman’s contract to be extended until the 2024 Paris Olympics, however, pending Baber’s consent.

“The FRU board has endorsed an extension of Gareth’s contract to continue as the head coach for the men’s 7s team to the next Olympics,” O’Connor said.

“Discussions had been ongoing with Gareth and he is waiting for the vaccination program to reach the 80 per cent threshold so that the international borders reopen. He does not want to be subjected to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period that is in place by the health authorities.

“He has already been fully vaccinated with both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine and is in Wales with his family.”

O’Connor said the final decision would be made by Baber.

“At the moment, there hasn’t been any concrete occurrences that Gareth has accepted the offer because when he comes over, we intend to talanoa, negotiate and hopefully finalise his contract.

“We will await Gareth’s return first, discuss his report and intentions before working on from there.

“Once a confirmed decision is made than we will offer an official public announcement regarding the appointment of the national men’s sevens head coach.

“The final decision will be made by Gareth if he wishes to continue or otherwise, but the FRU board has endorsed an extension to his contract till the 2024 Paris Olympics.”

Meanwhile, Baber had indicated his desire previously of continuing in his role to lift the game of sevens to the next level.

“I know what needs to be done in this period of time,” he said earlier.

The hectic schedule for next year leading to the 2024 Paris Olympics include the Commonwealth Games 7s competition, Rugby World Cup 7s tournament in South Africa next September.

It is envisaged the former Hong Kong men’s 7s head coach and a Master of Science (MoS) graduate in Transportation and Materials Moving from Cardiff University in Wales, would be in Fiji by the end of next month.

Baber’s contract expires on December 31.

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