Fiji get Male coach

Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:00

The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) has named former Fiji number eight Inoke Male as head coach of the Flying Fijians.

Male's appointment is for four years and he is expected to guide the Fiji national side to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Hailing from Raralevu Village in Tailevu, 48-year-old Male began his career with the Raralevu Rugby Club in 1985 before joining the Navy in 1989 where he represented the Navy Rugby Club in Suva through until 2001.

The former naval officer came late to international rugby, winning his first cap against Australia in 1998 at the relatively mature age of 35. Male went on to play 22 times for Fiji claiming a total of 15 caps and also represented Fiji at the 1999 Rugby World Cup where the Brad Johnstone coached the side which lost to England in the quarterfinal play-offs.

As a coach Male is currently the head coach of Vatukoula Rugby Union, a side he guided out of the B Division ranks and into the Major Division after winning the promotion-relegation play-off against Navosa last September.

Male has also previously coached the Navy Rugby Club, the Tailevu Rugby Union, whom he guided to Farebrother-Sullivan Cup glory and the Fiji Warriors. He was an assistant coach of the Flying Fijians in 2009 and 2010.

As head coach of Fiji's Junior World Cup team in 2011, he guided the Junior Fijians to the top six in the world after a memorable victory against Wales in Italy. It was Fiji's best-ever finish in the tournament's four-year history.

Male replaces Sam Domoni whose two-year tenure at the helm of the Flying Fijians ended in disappointment after Fiji failed to qualify for the quarterfinals of 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.