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Fiji Rugby Union mulls tight-5 academy

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FIJI LIVE - To address and improve scrum, an area considered the Flying Fijians Achilles heels over the years, Fiji Rugby plans to get a proper tight five academy in place from 2013.

 Fiji Rugby chief executive Manasa Baravilala said the International Rugby Board has offered their full backing saying the investment would augur well for the national teams.

 “The academy will address our weaknesses in the props and locks. Towards the end of the tour against Georgia our scrum was much better and with the academy we could enhance it.

 “The IRB have said we need to be patient in that we will not be able to see significant results in 2015 but in the following World Cup in 2019. There will be some improvement between now and 2015, but we would not be able to see the real benefits until 2019. Its a process that won’t happen overnight.”

 Baravilala said this was one of the positives from their November Northern Hemisphere Tour. In terms of Tests, he said Fiji would not be able to dictate or make decision on the teams to play Test matches with, but make do with games made available by the IRB in June and November Test windows.

 “It is very difficult to attract international teams into Fiji because of the competition structure in the Southern and Northern Hemisphere teams because players are contracted to their clubs.

 “The players are contracted to their clubs. The players first loyalty to clubs, there is nothing wrong with that, but for us we would need to maximise opportunities provided by IRB in those Test windows.”

In an interview with the New Zealand media, Kiwi boss Steve Tew ruled out Tests with Pacific Island countries including Fiji over the next seven years.