Rugby Sevens champions Fiji switch coaches for Paris

SYDNEY: Olympic Rugby Sevens men's champions Fiji have sacked English coach Ben Gollings and appointed 2016 gold medallist Osea Kolinisau in his place some four months before they defend their title in Paris.

Fiji won the inaugural Olympic gold medal - the island nation's first in any sport - at the 2016 Rio Games and retained the title in Tokyo three years ago but have not won a round on the World Rugby Sevens Series since May 2022.

"It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Ben Gollings. His dedication and efforts have been commendable, but we must prioritise our ultimate goal of securing medals for Fiji in sevens rugby at the Summer Olympics," Fiji Rugby chairman Peter Mazey said in a statement.

"We are confident that our new coach will provide the leadership, guidance, and strategic direction necessary to elevate the performance of our sevens rugby team and position Fiji for success at the Summer Olympics."

Kolinisau, Fiji's flag-bearer at the 2016 Olympics, was skipper when the squad won the gold medal in Rio and back-to-back World Sevens Series titles in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Fiji Rugby also said they were considering appointing a Director of Rugby for Sevens, suggesting candidates would include Olympic-winning coaches Ben Ryan and Gareth Baber as well as Sevens great Waisale Serevi.

The 2024 Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament will take place from July 24-30 at the Stade de France. --REUTERS

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