Fiji’s national 7s coach keeps his next option open

Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/File

Nationalrugby 7s coach Gareth Baber has left his future options open after guiding the Team Fiji men’s rugby 7s team to its second gold medal victory at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

Baber took over the coaching role from Ben Ryan who coached the national side to the first-ever gold medal victory at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Fiji Rugby Union extended Baber’s contract to the end of this year after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed because of the coronavirus.

Baber who has not been with his family for the past seven months said his priority right now was to head back to the United Kingdom to join them.

He said it was not only about him, but his life as a husband and father of three children.

Baber has requested people to give him a little bit of space and time to make that proper decision, because the position of national 7s coach was too important.

“For me personally, I have had a contract extension which is lovely,” he said.

“I’m not quite sure what my future holds, obviously my family are back in the United Kingdom and I’m going back to be with them. I haven’t seen them for seven months.

“This isn’t just about me, this is about my life as a father and a husband.

“It is also a big responsibility to take on the expectations of a nation and to carry on from the position that it is in.

“I only do everything a 100 per cent and if there is any doubt in my head then I won’t take it.”

Baber’s contract is believed to run until the end of the year, however the 2021/2022 World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series kicks off in Vancouver in September.

Baber revealed that he doesn’t have a coaching contract anywhere else in the world.

“If the Fiji Rugby Union wants me to continue then there will be an agreement that I do it properly,” he said.

“I do it with the clear mind of what I’m going to be doing in the next four years of my life.

“So I don’t want to say anything either way at the moment because you know I think that all my focus was on getting this mission done.

“I haven’t got a contract elsewhere at the moment in my life. I just want to get back to my family and see them.

“I hope that people just give me a little bit of space and time to make that proper decision, because the job is too important. It is not like any other in the world from what I can see and from my opinion.

“We are so proud as a nation as to what we can achieve at this level and I think that it is important for us as a nation that we make the right decisions at this level.

“I think that this is important for us as a nation that we make the right decisions based around those coaches, players and managers who can commit to make sure that we stay at this standard and this level going forward.”

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