The 49-year-old only took charge in February but will not continue as head coach into 2024
Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui has announced that he will not continue into 2024 and wants to return “home” after his side’s agonising World Cup exit.
The 49-year-old took on the role of head coach in February, moving from high performance director after Vern Cotter’s departure, and took the Flying Fijians to first Rugby World Cup quarter-final in 16 years before a 30-24 defeat to England ended their journey on Sunday in Marseille.
Raiwalui, a former Wallabies assistant, masterminded Fiji’s first-ever victory over England in August’s final World Cup warm-up match before they beat Australia for the first time in 69 years on their way to qualifying as runners-up behind Wales in Pool C.
“Well I guess it is time to make it official, specifically what the next cycle will look like for Fiji Rugby…I will not be seeking an extension of employment with FRU past 31st December,” he wrote on X/formerly Twitter.
“Thanks again to the players, staff & all the supporters, it has been quite a ride!”
Raiwalui hinted he is set to return to Australia but his next job in rugby remains unclear. “I have missed my wife & kids birthdays, our wedding anniversary, picking my daughter up from school, drinking a beer with my sons, walking the dog, etc, for the last 4 years…they have shared enough, it’s time to go home!” he added on the social media site.
Fiji were widely praised for their exciting brand of rugby during this World Cup, running fellow quarter-finalists Wales very close in their opening fixture.
They were also involved in one of the games of the tournament, losing to Portugal to hand the Lobos their inaugural World Cup victory while also still scraping into the knockouts courtesy of a losing bonus point.
Portugal were also looking for a new head coach after Patrice Lagisquet’s departure but they have now filled that vacancy with the appointment of Sébastien Bertrank.