Fiji’s Sports Minister Jese Saukuru has reaffirmed the government’s hands-off approach in the affairs of the Fiji Rugby Union.

Despite Fijian taxpayers contributing to sevens Coach Ben Gollings’ salary through the Fiji Sports Commission, Saukuru emphasises that decisions concerning the coach’s future lie solely within the FRU’s purview.

Gollings, saw his side finish sixth at the Los Angles 7s earlier today after losing 26-21 to Argentina.

Public calls for change are being acknowledged by Saukuru, who stresses the delicate balance between government support and the FRU’s independent decision-making.

While expressing backing for potential changes, Saukuru maintains that the FRU must spearhead decisions to enhance Fiji’s rugby.

“I mean rugby sevens is piece of cake, we can always make a change at the very last minute, now people are saying it must too late to make the changes now, I tell you it’s never too late to make the change now.”

Saukuru stressed the importance of respecting the contractual obligations of the current coach, emphasising performance as the key criterion for any potential change, aligning with inherent performance criteria in contracts.

The Sports Minister remains optimistic asserting that change is possible and declaring, “It’s never too late to make the change now,” highlighting the potential to replace the coach or even overhaul the entire team.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka also spoke about the critical role of rugby and sports in Fiji’s international relations and societal development.

“They have not called for a meeting, if they do not call in the next few days, we will call.”

Rabuka expresses the government’s readiness to engage in discussions with the FRU, emphasizing the importance of evaluating the team’s performance in conversations with relevant stakeholders.

Attorney General Siromi Turaga, responsible for appointing FRU’s trustees acknowledged public dissatisfaction with rugby performance, particularly in sevens.

Turaga has expressed a desire to inquire with the board while maintaining the government’s non-interference stance.

“We are going to enquire with the board, and we had discussions with the board few days ago.”

He has revealed that there’re some issues with Fiji Airways men’s 7s coach Ben Gollings contract.

Turaga said there is a possibility some things are not clear in the contract.

The AG also said this maybe one of the reasons the FRU is reluctant to end Gollings contract.

Three weeks ago, Turaga had a meeting with the FRU Trustees in his office but says he can’t divulge the issues discussed and he didn’t have a copy of the contract.

Turaga said they’ll certainly discuss this in their next meeting.

Sevens wizard Waisale Serevi said he feels for the players in the Fiji Men’s 7s side after losing yet another tournament.

Serevi said being a former national player and coach, he knows what the players must be going through, especially after the upset quarter-final loss to Spain by 21-19.

“They were unlucky 19-0 to lose that game, it’s like hurting, if the people in Fiji are hurting, but imagine the boys themselves, they hurt more than all the people back home. I feel for them but it’s another tournament and they need to learn and try to get better.”

Meanwhile, the Fiji men’s 7s side has been drawn in a tough pool for next month’s Hong Kong 7s after finishing sixth in Los Angeles.

The Ben Gollings coached side is in Pool A with LA 7s champions France, Canada and Australia.

Great Britain, Argentina, USA and New Zealand are in Pool B while Ireland, Spain, Samoa and South Africa make up Pool C.

The Fijiana team is in Pool B with Australia, South Africa and Ireland after ending its campaign in LA 7s in a disappointing eleventh spot.

Pool A has New Zealand, France, Brazil and Great Britain while Pool C is made up of USA, Canada, Japan and Spain.

The Hong Kong 7s will be played from 5-7 April.