Fiji unveil Mick Byrne as new head coach

Mick Byrne is currently the head coach of Fijian Drua
Mick Byrne is currently the head coach of Fijian Drua

Fiji have confirmed that Australian Mick Byrne will be taking over as their new head coach.

Byrne is currently the head coach of Fijian Drua, who have three wins that includes victories against Crusaders and Waratahs in the seven matches played this season.

He will take over the vacant role left by Simon Raiwalui, who stepped down at the end of the last year's Rugby World Cup in France.

The 65-year-old played in the Victorian Football League representing Melbourne, Hawthorn and Sydney Swans and combined featured for them in 167 matches.

Following his retirement from playing career, Byrne started his coaching career with Leinster as a skills coach before having a similar role with Scotland, New Zealand and Australia between 2003 and 2020. He was appointed Fijian Drua head coach ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season.

“World Rugby clarified that (Fiji’s) performance and ranking at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France has put Fiji in strong position to be part of the Nations Championship competition commencing 2026 through to 2030,” Fiji Rugby said in a statement.

“It would be detrimental to Fiji’s participation in the Nations Championship, in the 2024 Olympics, in Super Rugby Pacific, the 2027 Rugby World Cup and the rest of the World Sevens Series ... if the best qualified and proven coaches are not appointed to Fiji’s high-performance national teams.”