Times are changing for Fiji rugby.
Vern Cotter's appointment as head coach in January has the potential to transform the national team from the great entertainers – and occasional upset merchants – to regular challengers.
That's Cotter's long term ambition, anyway.
Returning home in mid-March from Montpellier in the south of France to his 920-acre Te Puke farm, which houses 100 ewes and 150 two-year-old cattle, Cotter has been settling into rural life while juggling his Fiji duties from afar amid the global pandemic.
"It was tough at the start I got some blisters on my hands and lost about five kilos but it's been a nice break from the pressure of the job; from the conflict that generally arises in rugby situations," Cotter, the vastly experienced former Crusaders assistant, Clermont, Scotland and Bay of Plenty head coach, told the Herald while perched in-front of the fire this week.
"You only win and lose in rugby. This farm is a project we bought 14 years ago and we've been counting down until we had the chance to come back and get stuck into it.
"It was a very abrupt exit from France we – my wife and youngest daughter – packed up with a bag each. We heard there was going to be a lockdown so we managed to just change our flight in time to get back in.
"We're lucky we've got Covid relatively under control. Things have been done well to keep the people and country safe and we can watch rugby on TV or go to games."
Outside his farming commitments, Cotter has begun establishing the building blocks to forge Fiji into a competitive force during the next four-year cycle.
Highly-regarded Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan, New Zealand Maori and Chiefs first five-eighth and international referee Glen Jackson and former Waratahs mentor Daryl Gibson have been recruited to Cotter's coaching team – and the improvement focuses are clear.
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"Teams generally know the perceived weakness in the way Fiji play whether it's set piece, defending mauls, not having a kicking game and a lack of discipline. Teams access Fiji through those areas so if we can make these guys aware of that, they already have the natural talent, x-factor, line breaks."
Despite the presence of Glasgow lock Leone Nakarawa and Bristol-bound Semi Radradra among others, Fiji endured a disappointing World Cup campaign last year where they pushed Wales and Australia but then lost to Uruguay to finish with one pool win over Georgia.
Having knocked over France in Paris for the first time in November 2018 much more was expected.
Fiji had the third-oldest squad in Japan, and there is a need to bring through the next generation as they work towards the 2023 World Cup in France.
Cotter's appointment comes at a time when Fiji, along with Japan, are being welcomed into the bosom of the elite test game.
Following the Pacific Nations Cup in October, when Cotter will get the chance to assess the local talent from the Island nation, Fiji are scheduled to travel north for matches against England, Ireland and Wales from November 17 to December 5 as part of a European-based eight nations tournament.
While that's a one-off prospect which will be staged in the same window New Zealand hopes to host this year's Rugby Championship, in the coming years Fiji and Japan are expected to be permanently invited into that annual Southern Hemisphere tournament.
Discussions around the inclusion of a Pacific Island team in Super Rugby from next year further boost hopes of significantly enhancing Fiji's rugby development.
Cotter believes the success of the Fiji Drua team in Australia's domestic competition since their introduction in 2017 offers evidence of the impact a Pacific team could have in Super Rugby, too.
"I'm really hoping a team from Fiji will be part of the next Super Rugby competition. They'll light it up with the talent and depth they have.
"There's genuinely enough talent in Fiji to be competitive. Everyone loves the competiveness of Super Rugby Aotearoa. Fiji are the best team in the world at sevens. Just look at their athletes.
"They just need the development and exposure in XVs – the players are there. They'll certainly bring in crowds. People will see things other teams can't do. That's exciting for people who are putting money into the competition.
"It gives the opportunity to bring payers back and have them contracted to Fiji and develop the rugby within the Pacific Islands. It would provide a professional environment where players can be looked after on a day in, day out basis to prepare for one of the best competitions in the world.
"If we have a team in the Super Rugby competition imagine the quality of preparation those guys would have."
Longer-term, Cotter is also hopeful of facing Ian Foster's All Blacks. Discussions were held about that prospect this season but with the vast majority of Fiji's established talent based in Europe, assembling a squad for one match which would require two-week quarantine proved problematic.
"When we play the All Blacks we definitely need our best players involved. That's something we're gearing towards and hopefully, we'll get an opportunity to test ourselves before the next World Cup."
For now, while he awaits official signoff on the potentially demanding 2020 test schedule, Cotter and Fiji remain in limbo.
Their chance to shake up the established elite is coming, though.
"Everyone would like the world to go back to normal again but we still don't know what the new normal is. It's a matter of waiting to see what can and can't be done. Everyone is pulling on the reins before we let go and rip in."