Fiji Rugby today expressed its deep gratitude to the Australian Government for their support of rugby in Fiji and our high performance programs.
Welcoming the announcement made by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne. FRU CEO John O’Connor said.
“We are humbled and grateful to the Australian Government for this support. Without their funding of our Men’s & Women’s 7’s teams travel costs to come to Australia, we could not have participated in this weekend’s PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens tournament in Townsville” “It is so important to our Olympic preparation and our quest to defend our gold medal, and we just thank them on behalf of all Fijians”
The announcement also includes funding to help establish both the Fijian Drua and their potential inclusion in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, but also for Fiji’s women’s team to join Rugby Australia’s Super W competition.
“ Our Fijiana team has qualified for the Rugby World Cup to be held in New Zealand in late 2022, and joining the Super Rugby W competition will give our women’s players a much needed program of high level competition to help them prepare for the RWC next year.”
O’Connor added “The funding for the Fijian Drua will help us bring back our best players home from overseas, and retain our local talent, allowing us to offer full time playing contracts to ensure we can field a highly competitive team in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition”.
Having the Fijian Drua team join the Super Rugby Trans- Tasman competition will greatly assist our preparation for the Rugby World Cup to be held in France in 2023, so the Australian Government funding will support both our Olympic and Rugby World Cup aspirations for men & women’s teams in both 7s and XV’s.
The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes said “Rugby is a great unifier between Australians and their Fijian vuvale. Supporting the Fiji 7s to compete in Townsville and hopefully win gold in Tokyo is a great demonstration of our close sporting ties. Our support for the Drua and Fijiana is a reminder for all Fijians that there are brighter days ahead of us,”
FRU also thanked Rugby Australia, World Rugby & Oceania Rugby for their support in facilitating these arrangements.