Knee injury opened up a national coaching role for Tavaita Rowati.
Tavaita Rowati’s disappointment at being sidelined by a knee injury in 2018 gave her an unexpected opportunity to join Fiji’s national coaching set-up.
Rowati had already started coaching while playing, and was just the second female coach to gain a Level Three coaching award having graduated from university with a diploma in Sports Science.
Fiji wisely decided to utilise Rowati’s experience during her injury lay-off, making her strength and conditioning coach of the national women’s team - a role that has since expanded into assistant coach.
“When I graduated back in 2008 there weren’t many coaches in Fiji who wanted to coach a women’s team, so I took the opportunity because I had the knowledge from playing in a team,” Rowati told World Rugby.
“I started practicing coaching at my club while I was still playing. In 2018 I had a knee injury and was given the opportunity to be the S&C coach for our national side, prepping for the Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers. I took the opportunity and pursued my coaching career.
“I enjoy getting to know different individuals and working with them through their rugby careers. Seeing them progress and watching them excel, not just in rugby but outside the sport, is also very satisfying.”
Having won international honours as a player, Rowati has already made impressive progress as a coach, but she acknowledges that she has more to learn and will benefit from her participation in the Gallagher High Performance Academy.
“I want to be an effective coach, to learn all aspects of the game and improve on my coaching,” she said.
“I want to be a good leader and have a clear direction of where women’s rugby in Fiji needs to be.”