Simon Raiwalui said on Tuesday he will leave the role of Fiji head coach at the end of the year after the Pacific Islanders were beaten by England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Raiwalui’s swashbuckling team impressed at the tournament, memorably beating Australia and eventually relegating the Wallabies to a historic elimination in the group phase.

“I will not be seeking an extension of employment with FRU past 31st December. Thanks again to the players, staff & all the supporters, it has been quite a ride!” Raiwalui posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Raiwalui, a 49-year-old former lock for Newport, Saracens and French club Racing 92, took over as Fiji coach in February after Vern Cotter resigned.

Despite a thrilling late comeback, Fiji were eliminated after losing 30-24 to England in Marseille on Sunday.

It was Fiji’s first World Cup quarter-final since 2007, with Raiwalui confident he is leaving Fiji in a strong position.

“The pride’s never gone away, it’s there from the beginning until the day I die. These boys are family. Pride doesn’t disappear,” Raiwalui said after the match

“The joy is there. For 15 weeks these boys have worked hard and we will celebrate that. We’re hurting now in terms of the result but I couldn’t be prouder of this group in terms of what they’ve put in. They’ve built something for the next generation of Fijian rugby players. They’ve laid a foundation.

“We’re hurting at the moment and it will hurt for a long time because it was something we had built and we thought we could go further. The belief in the team has always been there. I’m bursting with pride,” he said.