The Fijian Drua have today announced the coaching and management team for its inaugural Super Rugby Pacific campaign. The Club has made the following five appointments:
*William Koong as Head Physiotherapist
*Brad Harris as Assistant Coach
*Glen Jackson as Assistant Coach
*Peceli Derederenalagi as Team Manager
*Nico Andrade as General Manager
The five join Head Coach Mick Byrne and Head of Athletic Performance Nacani Cawanibuka to chart the course for the Fijian Drua’s maiden Super Rugby voyage.
Interim CEO Brian Thorburn welcomed the coaching and management team to the Fijian Drua vuvale. “It’s wonderful to be able to share with our fans in Fiji and around the world the support team behind the Fijian Drua. The experts and specialists we’re announcing today are no strangers to the Fiji Rugby vuvale, having been around various squads and teams in a number of capacities.
Thorburn continued: “William Koong has been a valuable part of Fiji Rugby. He is an expert in his field with enormous experience and multiple achievements, which of course include looking after two Olympic gold-medal winning 7s teams. William has Super Rugby experience too, as the Medical Liaison for the four Super Rugby matches held in Fiji between 2016 and 2019. He has contributed immensely to Fiji Rugby over the years, and we cannot think of anyone better to look after our talented playing group.”
“Brad Harris is also familiar to many players in our squad. He has been with our 7s programme as Assistant Coach, and was also a part of the Tokyo gold-medal winning squad. He brings with him international coaching experience as well, being a former forwards coach for Georgia’s national side. Brad’s has been heavily involved with Fiji Rugby’s 15s programme, in particular when the Drua won the NRC in 2018. His first hand knowledge and experience with our environment and many of our players will be extremely valuable for the squad.”
“Glen Jackson is a familiar name for fans, given his background as a popular Super Rugby player with the Chiefs, English Premiership player with Saracens, as well as a highly distinguished referee with New Zealand Rugby, where he officiated 88 Super Rugby matches and 32 Test matches. He is also involved with the Flying Fijians as an Assistant Coach on an ongoing basis and was part of the Coaching team for the mid-year tests against the All Blacks.”
“On the team management side, we warmly welcome Peceli Derederenalagi as Team Manager. Peceli has been with Fiji Rugby as Assistant Manager of Fijian National Teams. He was also the Team Manager for the NRC Drua in 2018 and 2019, where the side won the NRC one year and were finalists the next.”
“Rounding out the Management Team is General Manager Nico Andrade. Nico has been with Fiji Rugby as General Manager Franchise Teams. He was also with the NRC Drua in 2019, following on from his role as Head of Rugby Services for Queensland Rugby and the Queensland Reds. He was also Team Manager for the Queensland Country NRC side which won the competition in 2017.”
Fijian Drua Head Physiotherapist William Koong sees this as a growth opportunity for Fiji and for him personally: “Fiji Rugby’s entry into the Super Rugby programme has been long awaited. In my over 13 years of working for the union I can confidently say that we are more than ready now. It facilitates the next level in the Fijian Rugby Talent Pathway, it will provide more social and economic opportunities for young men and women, and is another growth opportunity in my career, as well as those I continue to mentor.”
Koong added: “The break into Super Rugby means more opportunities for Fijian players. The professional work environment aside, the primary benefit is one’s take-home packet. This will ultimately strengthen the livelihood and welfare of players and their beneficiaries.” .