Rugby World Cup 2021 coaching intern confirmed for Fiji

World Rugby and the Fiji Rugby Union today announced former Australian international and Melbourne Rebels head coach Alana Thomas will join the Fijiana 15s squad management team.
  • RWC 2021 coach interns to be fully embedded with national squad management teams
  • RWC 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is supported by World Rugby, as part of IOC international development grant
  • Fijiana prepare to compete in their first ever Rugby World Cup

World Rugby and the Fiji Rugby Union today announced former Australian international and Melbourne Rebels head coach Alana Thomas will join the Fijiana 15s squad management team as Fiji’s selected Rugby World Cup 2021 coaching intern.

The appointment comes as part of a unique collaboration between the Fiji Rugby Union and Rugby Australia.

Thomas will join newly-appointed Fijiana head coach Senirusi Seruvakula and the wider management team, taking on the role of defence and skills coach under the RWC 2021 internship as Fijiana prepare to compete in their first-ever Rugby World Cup.  

The Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is supported as part of the International Olympic Committee’s international development grant awarded to World Rugby.

The programme is an outcome from the comprehensive Women’s High-Performance Coaching review, with the report’s findings highlighting a significant lack of female representation at high-performance coaching level.

The ground-breaking Coaching Internship Programme aims to address the lack of female coaches at high-performance level across men’s and women’s rugby through the creation of quality deployment opportunities for aspiring elite female coaches in high-performance environments.

In line with the ‘developing inspirational leadership’ strand of the Women in Rugby 2017-25 strategic plan, World Rugby is committed to supporting the development of female coaches in the sport and has set an ambitious target of a minimum of 40 per cent of all coaches at Rugby World Cup 2025 to be women.

World Rugby General Manager for Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir said: “It is fantastic to see both the Fiji Rugby Union and Rugby Australia working in collaboration in providing Fiji with a suitable elite female candidate to take up the Rugby World Cup 2021 coach internship position with Fijiana 15s. We wish Alana and Fijiana well as they prepare to compete in their first-ever Rugby World Cup.”

Simon Raiwalui, Fiji Rugby Union General Manager High Performance said: “Fiji Rugby Union is extremely excited to confirm that Alana Thomas will be joining the coaching staff of our Fijiana XV in preparation for next year’s Rugby World Cup

“Our newly-appointed head coach Senirusi Seruvakula has assembled an exciting diverse young coaching staff and we are very fortunate to be able to have someone with the skills and experience such as Alana.

“One of the main priorities within the Fiji Rugby Union is the development of women’s rugby within the country and Alana’s involvement will assist in the growth of our pathways for our women and girls.

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank World Rugby and Rugby Australia for allowing us to participate in the World Rugby Coach Internship Programme for RWC 2021, without their support a programme such as this would not be possible.”

RWC 2021 coach intern Alana Thomas said: “I am extremely excited to be appointed as an assistant coach of the Fijiana 15s team and take part in the World Rugby Coaching Internship Programme.

“Fiji Rugby has been creating a great pathway for women and girls and to be a part of their first Rugby World Cup is going to be a great experience.

“I’m looking forward to working with Seni, he is an experienced coach having coached the Fijian Drua within Australia’s National Rugby Championship, winning the premiership in 2018, as well as working with the Flying Fijians.  

“I would like to thank Rugby Australia for their support throughout my coaching journey and the development which they have been able to provide. Their ongoing support has given me a great opportunity heading into this new role.”

Click here to view full list of RWC 2021 coach interns >>

Hosts New Zealand and Wales will confirm participating female coaches at a later stage, and the remaining three teams to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2021 will also be afforded the opportunity to identify female coaches to participate in the innovative programme.

Last updated: Nov 16, 2020, 3:29:50 PM
Josephine Sukkar with Buildcorp Super W and Wallaroos players
wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news wr-women-news-power wr-news-oceania
Josephine Sukkar hopes to use historic appointment to help keep Australia mentally and physically healthy
We talk to the first female chair of the Australian Sports Commission about her hopes for the role, and her work in rugby.
Springbok Women
wr-news Women's wr-women-news RWC2021 Rugby World Cup wr-women-news-2021 wr-news-oceania wr-news-olympics-w
Springbok Women ready to step out of the shadows at Rugby World Cup 2021
South Africa’s new women’s rugby high performance manager Lynne Cantwell hopes Rugby World Cup 2021 will help inspire a new generation of players.
Kelly Brazier playing Hong Kong at RWC 2017
Women's Development Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-women-news-2021 wr-news wr-women-news Tournament News RWC2021 Rugby World Cup
Kelly Brazier “pumped” ahead of potential Olympic-Rugby World Cup double
We caught up with the two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who is hoping to play at both Tokyo 2020 and New Zealand 2021.
Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 - Women's
sevens-news wr-women-news-sevens Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-news-sevens wr-news-olympics-w Olympics wr-news wr-women-news
USA sevens star Naya Tapper: We want to bring back Olympic gold
As rugby sevens returns from a year-long lay-off in Madrid this weekend, USA star Naya Tapper says she is “super-excited” to be finally back doing what she does best – tearing up the rugby field.
Women's International: Spain v Scotland
wr-news Women's wr-women-news sevens Feature RWC2021 Rugby World Cup wr-women-news-2021
Women’s Rugby Europe Championship: Spain ready to start their road to Rugby World Cup 2021
Las Leonas have a key game against Russia this weekend in Guadalajara in the Women’s Rugby Europe Championship, aiming to continue chasing their dream of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2021.
Liza Burgess Ronan O'Gara Hall of Fame induction
wr-women-news-coach wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news Tournament News Podcasts
Rugby’s Greatest Podcast: Who are the best Six Nations leaders?
The first episode of the new World Rugby podcast welcomes Ronan O’Gara, Ian McGeechan, Liza Burgess, Conor O’Shea and Andy Gomarsall to talk about leadership.
Bella Milo playing for Valley
Women's Development Women's wr-women-news-2021 wr-women-news-coach wr-news wr-women-news Feature Tournament News RWC2021 Rugby World Cup
Bella Milo: Rugby World Cup 2021 could have huge impact on women’s rugby in Hong Kong and Pacific Islands
The Samoa fly-half talks to World Rugby about New Zealand 2021, coaching and how she hopes to “give back” to the game.
Spain women's sevens
sevens-news Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-news-sevens Olympics wr-news wr-women-news sevens-news-men
Madrid Sevens: All you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics warm-up tournament
Your guide to the return of rugby sevens, including who is playing, what format it will take and its importance to the participating teams.
Alhambra Nievas - Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2017 - Women's
Olympics wr-women-news-sevens wr-news Women's wr-women-news wr-news-matchofficials wr-women-news-2021 wr-news-olympics-w
Pioneering Olympic female referee Alhambra Nievas excited by the next generation
As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games draw ever closer, we talk to Alhambra Nievas about her experience of refereeing the women’s gold medal match in Rio and look at how far female officials have come since that momentous occasion.
Paule Ella Guei
wr-news Women's Unstoppables wr-women-news Feature
'Unstoppable' Paule Ella Guei awarded for promoting women's rugby in Ivory Coast
One of the faces of Rugby Africa's 'Try And Stop Us' campaign, the player-turned-referee has received the Sports + Award in recognition of her work developing women's rugby in the Ivory Coast.