Simon Raiwalui announced as new Wallabies forwards coach
Former Fiji and Manly star Simon Raiwalui has today been announced as the new Wallabies forwards coach until the end of 2019.
The kiwi-born lock broke onto the rugby scene in Australia with the Marlins, and played alongside Joe Roff and Ben Tune for the Australian Schoolboys before going on to represent his native Fiji on 46 occasions.
He headed to Europe, where he enjoyed success with Sale and Saracens in England, Newport in Wales, and Racing Metro in France. After hanging up the boots he moved into coaching with Racing Metro, before heading across Paris to help guide their arch-rivals Stade Francais to the 2015 Top 14 title.
He will head back to Australia for the first time in 20 years to take up his new role once he has completed his duties with current club side Biarritz.
“I’m very excited to move back to Australia, and the chance to work alongside Michael (Cheika), Stephen (Larkham), Mick (Byrne) and Nathan (Grey) was one that I just couldn’t pass up,” Raiwalui explained.
“I’ve learned so much about the game in the Northern Hemisphere and I think it’s been crucial for me as a forwards coach. There’s so much focus on that side of the game in Europe so I hope I can bring home some of those learnings to Australian rugby.”
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika was pleased to have got his man after an extensive search for the right candidate.
“We had the luxury of taking our time to ensure we had a lot of detail in our selection process and the final choice of Simon was very clear for us. His quality of character, along with his technical detail and passion for Australia was a mix that proved a very potent argument for his selection.
“He was a very hard, tough and no-nonsense player from the Manly club, who has gained invaluable playing and coaching experiences in Europe. He’s ready to use all of that and more in building on the work of his predecessor to make our Wallaby forward pack one that will lay the platform for our national team’s success over the next two years.”
With a three-test series against Six Nations champions Ireland in the offing, and just 18 months left until the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Raiwalui can’t wait to get started.
“The World Cup is a key target of course but I’m very keen to get back home, get to know the players and then help where I can with the Super Rugby teams before the Ireland series coming up.”
2018 QANTAS WALLABIES V IRELAND
Saturday 9 June, 8pm – Qantas Wallabies vs Ireland Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Saturday 16 June, 8pm – Qantas Wallabies vs Ireland AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Saturday 23 June, 8pm Qantas Wallabies vs Ireland Allianz Stadium, Sydney.