In a notable career move, Simon Raiwalui has transitioned from his role with Fiji Rugby after a successful stint as the interim head coach.
The 49-year-old, who initially assumed the position of general manager of high-performance for the Flying Fijians in 2020, took over as head coach on an interim basis in 2023.
Raiwalui’s coaching journey with Fiji reached its zenith when he guided the team to their first-ever victory over England in their Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture at Twickenham. This would set the stage for an impressive run to the quarter-finals at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Other notable results include a decisive 22-15 victory over Australia on their journey to the knockout stages, leaving an indelible mark on the tournament.
Reflecting on his time with Fiji, Raiwalui expressed pride in witnessing the growth of the team, both collectively and as individuals. Emphasising a philosophy of allowing players to express themselves without limitations, he underscored the significance of representing Fiji and making every Fijian proud.
“Coaching the Flying Fijians is memorable. There are some interesting characters.
“The proudest moment for me was to see them grow every day. As a team, as individuals, we wanted them to express themselves, we didn’t want them to be limited.
“So, like I said from the start. Who are we? We are the Flying Fijians.
“Who we want to be? We want to represent Fiji and make every Fijian proud.” Raiwalui said.
Having officially concluded his tenure with Fiji, Raiwalui announced his new role as the manager of high performance at World Rugby. In this capacity, he will contribute to the global development and pathways of rugby, showcasing his commitment to the sport on a broader scale.
Addressing the Fiji Prime Minister’s International Business Awards, Raiwalui spoke passionately about his investment in the development and pathways of rugby, expressing the hope of returning to Fiji in the future.
“I am joining World Rugby as the manager of high performance,” he said at the Fiji Prime Minister’s International Business Awards.
“It is something that I am really invested in, the development and pathways of rugby, so I will be working worldwide. But like I have mentioned before, hopefully one day I will be back in Fiji.” The former secondrow said.
While Raiwalui’s departure marks the end of a memorable coaching chapter with the Flying Fijians, his new role with World Rugby signifies a continuation of his dedication to advancing the sport worldwide. As he embarks on this new professional journey, Raiwalui’s impact on Fiji Rugby and his aspirations for the global rugby community leave an enduring legacy.