A 4-day Refresher Course and planning workshop was held last week commencing on Wednesday 8th December in Nadi following a World Rugby coach educator course that was held earlier the same week. The refresher course and planning workshop provided the first opportunity to bring together all 47 Get into Rugby PLUS Coaches in Fiji in more than 12 months.
Together they reviewed the programme curriculum and learning models, were introduced to a new session that will teach players an emotional control technique used by elite teams and identified best practices for coaching processes; strengths and areas of improvement for coaches in the delivery of the programme; and planned for the 2022 season.
Get into Rugby PLUS is a flagship Sport for Development programme that embeds life skills learning with rugby union to promote positive behaviours, support gender equality, and prevent violence against women, girls and boys.
Get into Rugby PLUS is jointly developed and implemented by Oceania Rugby, Fiji Rugby Union, Lakapi Samoa, UN Women and ChildFund Rugby.
Get into Rugby PLUS is co-funded by the Australian Government’s Team Up initiative through its partnership with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby; by UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), funded primarily by the European Union, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women; and ChildFund Rugby.
The 3-day workshop falls at the end of the 16 days of activism and following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and pertinent for a programme that supports 50% female players and coaches.
Get into Rugby PLUS Fiji is delivered in school settings and more recently community sites, which have been especially difficult in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 induced national lockdowns.
Lavenia Yalovi, Get Into Rugby PLUS Fiji National Coordinator said,
“The 2021 refresher workshop is unique and a blessing as we managed to bring together all active coaches in the programme from 2018 -2021. It is a very diverse group with wealth of knowledge, experiences and skills thus they complement each other really well. I can’t wait to see them coaching their teams come 2022.”
Tihrani Uluinakauvadra, Participation & Pathways Manager for Oceania Rugby who attended the training last week said,
“It has been a tough year for all involved in Get into Rugby PLUS in Fiji. While we couldn’t deliver the practical activities, many Coaches did a terrific job transitioning life skill lessons to an online format by bringing the children together on zoom. The eagerness we saw in the children who participated proves that the success of this programme is directly linked to excellent trust and bond Coaches have built with their teams, the quality training the coaches undertake making sure that everyone who participates feels safe and excited being involved in rugby no matter where they are.”
Building on World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby initiative, and Fiji’s favourite sport, girls and boys in the programme benefit from involvement in fun, progressive team activities led by trained coaches who model the values of inclusion and diversity and create safe playing environments.
Integrated life skills learning components engage players in processes of critical thinking and reflection around issues of respectful relationships, gender stereotypes and violence to build the knowledge, confidence and resilience. The curriculum uses rugby’s values of integrity, solidarity, respect, discipline and passion as its foundation.
GET INTO RUGBY PLUS FIJI INAUGURAL AWARDS
The workshop and training ended with the inaugural Get into Rugby PLUS Fiji Awards. Three awards presented:
2021 Coach of the Year
Oripa Lee. Get into Rugby PLUS Coach since 2018
Oripa Lee is a natural leader who has been a passionate and dedicated Get into Rugby PLUS Coach since 2018. In addition to her coaching Oripa has become an Educator supporting the development of other coaches, she has consistently delivered high quality rugby and Lifeskills coaching with her players over several years, and in 2021, despite Covid-19 lockdowns which prevented her from bringing her players together, she took the initiative to take Lifeskills sessions online. Oripa adapted the sessions to zoom which led to many other coaches doing the same. Her rugby coaching potential has been recognised by Fiji Rugby Union and she is currently completing the World Rugby Level 2 Coach accreditation and has been appointed as a National U18 women’s coach. Oripa is much loved and trusted by her players and fellow coaches alike.
Usaia Loki. Get into Rugby PLUS Coach since 2019
Usaia Loki has been instrumental in innovations in the programme. Establishing Get into Rugby PLUS as a ‘club’ in his the school, he has been at the forefront of change for boys in the school. He has been instrumental in taking Get into Rugby PLUS from the school environment and developing the community-based model that is now been implemented into 2022. Mr Loki coached two teams throughout 2021 (Kinoya Bombers & Nausori Primary School) and supports coaches within the programme as an Educator and mentor, and with a fine wit, bringing laughter with him wherever he goes.
2021 Most Passionate Coach
Adi Fiika Vucago. Get into Rugby PLUS Coach since 2021
Adi Fiika’s passion has been limitless since she joined the programme earlier this year. She is attentive, active, and engaged in all training and programme activities, and overcame all challenges to delivery that 2021 presented as to complete the season with her team of girls with high quality outcomes. In a very short period, Ms Fiika has demonstrated she is a coach with potential and is working to complete her World Rugby Level 2 Coaching accreditation in addition to obtaining a Level 1 Match Official accreditation in 2021. Her passion for rugby and the programme saw here appointed as the Team Manager for the Waitui Waidroka Women’s team this year.
Following the awards presentation Adi Fiika Vucago said receiving her award was an overwhelming experience and has inspired her to do more for both her school, team and community.
“The GIR PLUS programme has done so much for me it is more of a holistic change. It has moulded me to practice the World Rugby Values (Discipline, Respect, Integrity, Passion and Solidarity) in my daily living, amd has inspired me to make a difference in others’ lives and help children showcase their talents a great way to help guide their behaviour, all in all nurture the good and mould their character using this programme as a tool to improve the behaviour of the notorious children in our school.” Vucago said.
Vucago would like to see the Get into Rugby PLUS Programme adopted within all schools across the pacific as a tool for building a brighter future for the younger generation.
Usaia Loki acknowledged all the partners, Fiji Rugby Union and Oceania Rugby in accepting his Coach of the year award,
“I feel proud and overwhelmed with this award. So grateful for the recognition by the Get into Rugby PLUS team as I never felt I needed to be rewarded, my work this year in the programme was part and parcel of my duty as a coach to the players.” Loki said.