WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Vern Cotter has picked former international referee Glen Jackson among the assistant coaches who will help guide Fiji at at the eight-team Autumn Nations Cup in Britain.
Cotter, the New Zealand-born former Scotland coach who took over as Fiji’s head coach after last years Rugby World Cup, unveiled Jackson as a skills coach Thursday among a varied and experienced group of assistants.
The others include former All Blacks center and New South Wales Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, Scotland-born former Springboks assistant Richard Gray and Jason Ryan, former forwards coach at the Super Rugby powerhouse Crusaders.
Jackson played five Super Rugby seasons at flyhalf for the Hamilton-based Chiefs and represented New Zealand Maori as a player before becoming a top-line referee. He refereed at international level for nine years before retiring in January after he was not appointed to the World Cup in Japan.
Cotter said Jackson would work as a handling coach and could also teach players what referees see and how they act. He said Jackson could help Fiji cut down the number of penalties they concede.
Gibson likely will coach the backline while Ryan, who won three Super Rugby titles with the Christchurch-based Crusaders, will guide the forwards.
Gray is an internationally acclaimed expert on the breakdown and defense. He worked with Cotter at French club Montpellier and has worked as a tackling consultant in the NFL.
Fiji is drawn in Group B at the Autumn Nations Cup with France, Scotland and Italy. It will play France on Nov. 15, Italy on Nov. 21 and Scotland on Nov. 28.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports