At a gala dinner at the Grand Pacific Hotel, dubbed “The Greatest night in Fiji Rugby History dinner”, the FRU tonight marked the 1 year anniversary of Fiji’s gold medal 7’s victory at the 2016 Olympics.
Attended by almost 300 people, including several of the victorious Fiji 7’s team, as well as the President of the FRU and a number of other Government Ministers & VIP’s, the FRU dinner will become an annual event which celebrates the first gold medal ever won by Fiji.
Commenting on the occasion, FRU Chairman, Commander Francis Kean said “12 months ago tonight, we all remember exactly where we were. Most of us were transfixed to a television, with our hearts bursting with a mixture of nervousness, anticipation but mostly national pride, as we witnessed the culmination of an incredible journey. That night we witnessed the most incredibly exciting night for our country, the biggest moment in Fijian sport history and the Greatest Night in Fiji Rugby History”.
In his address to the dinner, The President of FRU and Honourable Prime Minister said “It’s a wonderful occasion tonight to relive our memories of the Gold medal victory exactly 12 months ago. We all remember the joy and happiness that victory brought to our nation, and the pride we felt when our 7s boys were crowned Olympic Champions. Their sacrifices, commitment, hard work, discipline and skill was rightfully rewarded, and it’s good to have 6 of the team here with us tonight to share in celebrating that magnificent moment.”
The gala dinner also celebrated the Vodafone Flying Fijians’ qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and heard from Coach John McKee about the team’s recent test match success and securing qualification as Oceania 1 into Pool D of the Rugby World Cup.
Commander Kean commented “It’s not just the Sevens Rio victory that we celebrate tonight. We salute the Vodafone Flying Fijians & and John McKee and his coaching team with their success in victories over Italy & Scotland plus winning the Pacific Nations Cup. Securing qualification as Oceania 1 for RWC in 2019 is a wonderful achievement, and places us in the best possible pool”.
The President of FRU also acknowledged the Fijian girls, saying “We should also remember and acknowledge our Fijiana girls who represented Fiji so well in the Olympics, and although they didn’t medal in 2016, they did our country proud, played their hearts out and can aspire to medals in future Olympics”
For the first time since the FRU’s Centennial, the FRU put on display an impressive collection of the trophies accumulated by the FRU over many years. CEO John O’Connor said “Outside the room tonight are an amazing display of trophies which we have rarely showcased previously. They show two things – Firstly, the deep heritage and history of Rugby in our nation, and the respect we have earned from many countries over many years but secondly the success that our teams and players have achieved at many levels over such a long period of time.”
A toast to the 7s team was made by Mr. O’Connor with all in attendance toasting the team with Fiji Gold beer, and all guests received an RBF commemorative $7 note package. Carpenters Motors also handed over the keys to a new Hyundai Mini-van which will be used to move 7s players and other FRU teams around the country. Mr O’Connor thanked Carpenters Motors for their support provided to the FRU over many years.