Simon Raiwalui joins the NSW Waratahs as Director of Performance

Thu, Jun 27, 2024, 10:00 PM
Waratahs Media
by Waratahs Media

The NSW Waratahs have today announced that Simon Raiwalui will join the club as Director of Performance, for the next three seasons.

The newly created position replaces the General Manager of Rugby role and will play an integral part in shaping the strategy for the development and performance of players across all Waratah teams and pathways.

The Director of Performance will also have an oversight role of the Waratah Head Coach and play a key leadership role within the Australian and NSW Rugby ecosystem.

Waratahs CEO Paul Doorn said the appointment is a significant step forward for rugby in NSW.

“The appointment of Simon presents our club with an opportunity to effectively hit a reset button, to re-assess and re-define our systems and strategies and to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to equip our Waratah teams for sustained success,” Doorn said.

“The nature of our integrated high performance model with Rugby Australia will also deliver a closer and more co-ordinated alignment with the national high performance program and allow us to access the experience and expertise within that program.”

Doorn says that Raiwalui’s wide experience as a player and an administrator made him an ideal choice for the NSW Waratahs Board.

“Simon has an excellent reputation internationally across the rugby world and we’re thrilled to have secured his services until at least the end of 2027,” Doorn said.

“He possesses elite experience across the three pillars of coaching, player development, and high performance sport and will be a valuable addition to our club.

“I am confident that the appointment of Simon and the impending announcement of our new Head Coach, will put the Waratahs on the path to delivering sustained success from 2025 and beyond.”

After an accomplished playing career starting with Sale, Saracens and Racing Metro 92 and representing Fiji in 43 Tests, Raiwalui earned a reputation as an internationally respected figure in both coaching and administration.

In 2012 he became the forwards coach of Racing Metro 92, followed by time at Stade Francais and Biarritz. Raiwalui then joined the Wallabies under Michael Cheika, in 2018.

He was appointed High Performance Manager of the Fiji Rugby Union in 2020, then Head Coach of the national team in 2023, taking Fiji to the Quarter-Finals of the 2023 World Cup.

Raiwalui’s latest role was with World Rugby as the High Performance Pathways and Player Development Manager.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1974, but educated and raised in Australia, he played for Manly Colts and represented the Australian Schoolboys, before leaving to play in England.

“I feel very privileged to join the Waratahs as the Director of Performance,” Raiwalui said.

“Growing up in Sydney and playing for the Manly Marlins, I have a strong affinity with the Waratahs. I’m highly motivated to improve the fortunes of the side on the field, enhance our performance pathways, and help grow the great game of rugby in NSW.

“Waratahs fans are among the most passionate in the Super Rugby Pacific and whilst the season didn’t go to plan in 2024, I’m confident that you’ll see a vastly improved result next season.

“I’m excited to get to work.”

Raiwalui will officially commence his role with the Waratahs in September 2024.

Playing Career

  • Racing Metro 92 (June 2007 – May 2011)
  • Saracens RFC (June 2003 – May 2007)
  • Newport RFC (June 1999 – May 2003)
  • Sale RFC (June 1997 – May 1999)
  • Fiji (May 1997 – May 2007) – 43 Tests

Coaching & High Performance

  • World Rugby – High Performance Pathways and Player Development Manager (November 2023 – June 2024)
  • Fiji Rugby Union
    • Head Coach (March 2023 – November 2023)
    • General Manager High Performance (February 2020 – November 2023)
  • Fijian Drua – Scrum Coach (Part-time) (October 2021 – June 2022)
  • Rugby Australia – Forwards Coach (June 2018 – February 2020)
  • Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque – Forwards Coach (July 2014 – June 2017)
  • Racing Metro 92
    • Team Manager (July 2013 – May 2014)
    • Forwards Coach (June 2012 – May 2013)
    • Team Manager (February 2012 – May 2012)
    • Academy Rugby Coach (June 2011 – May 2016)

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