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Simon Raiwalui named new Fiji head rugby coach

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Fiji Rugby has named Simon Raiwalui as the new national men's team head coach, replacing New Zealand-born Vern Cotter who stepped down last month.

Raiwalui recently has been Fiji’s high performance director.

In an extensive playing career, Raiwalui played for Fiji from 1997 to 2006. He played in Britain for the Sale Sharks, Newport and Saracens and in France for Racing Metro 92.

Raiwalui has coaching experience in France and Australia.

“After going through a thorough and stringent process and analyzing the capabilities of the interested applicants, the board made a decision to hand over the Flying Fijians' coaching responsibility to Raiwalui,” Fiji Rugby deputy chairman Daniel Whippy said Saturday.

“I believe with Raiwalui being a coach and former Fiji captain, it will be smooth sailing for him and the team especially with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner."

Raiwalui first will coach Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup against Samoa, Tonga and Japan.

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