The Fiji Rugby Union
The FRU is based in the nation’s capital of Suva and administers rugby over the nation’s 14 provinces covering an area of 230,000 square kilometers of the South Pacific.
The Fiji archipelago consists of 300-plus islands, of which about 100 are inhabited. The main island, Viti Levu, and the large island to the north, Vanua Levu, make up 85% of the total land mass of Fiji. The population of Fiji is estimated at 750,000, of which slightly less than 400,000 are indigenous Fijians.
Rugby is the leading sport throughout the Fiji Islands, with an estimated 60,000 senior players and 20,000 schoolchildren. It is believed that Fiji has the highest player-population ratio of any rugby playing nation; a recent survey by the World Rugby showed Fiji had more post-schools rugby players than New Zealand and only slightly less than Australia.
The FRU comprises 36 affiliated unions and associations, each with their own administration and constitution. There are 13 unions in Viti Levu, five in Vanua Levu, with the remaining 18 on outer islands.
The 36 affiliated unions conduct club competitions with their respective areas, with numbers of clubs numbering more than 600 clubs in total.
In addition to this structure, there are many village teams, which are too isolated, or too little in number to form a union. Almost every village has a team although those not attached to a union may play only occasional matches.
In 2001, the FRU embraced professional rugby. Sweeping changes were made to the constitution, administration and management of Fiji rugby following loss-making seasons in 1999 and 2000 by the national body as it grappled with the demands of the new world of professional rugby.
Fiji’s national 15s team, known as the Vodafone Flying Fijians, competes in Test matches played in the June-July and November Test windows. Following the demise of the Epson Cup series, Fiji played an annual series with Samoa and Tonga, which expanded in 2006 to become the IRB Pacific Nations Cup (PNC). The PNC (now World Rugby PNC) is now contested between the three island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga as well as Japan. In 2013 the competition is likely to expand further to include two more Tier Two nations.
The Vodafone Fiji 7s team competes in the IRB World 7s Series and other international sevens tournaments and finished as runners-up in the 2011-12 Series after claiming three tournaments – Gold Coast, London and the prized scalp of the Hong Kong 7s tournament.
The main provincial competition conducted by the FRU is the Skipper Cup – a competition between the 12 leading Provincial teams.
Each participating Province (except Macuata and Ovalau) also fields an U20 team. The 12 teams play on a round-robin basis with the top four teams playing in a semifinal/final series.
HFC Bank – Farebrother Series
Fiji rugby’s best-loved competition is an additional Provincial series known in Fiji simply as the Farebrother. The competition is played annually and the current cup holder is challenged one by one by other Provincial teams. All games are home matches for the cup holder.
B Division Competition
The B Division Competition is played in the month of August between the FRU’s B Division (Tier 2) unions. The winner of the B Division plays in the Promotion-Relegation match against the bottom placed team in the Skipper Cup Competition for the right to claim Major Union status and participate in the Skipper Cup in the following season.
Island Zone Championship
During August, the Island Zone Championship is played in Suva. The tournament conducted by the FRU over a period of one week when outer island teams compete to become the Island Zone Champions.
Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby Union administers rugby in secondary schools throughout Fiji, with its major competition being the Dean’s Trophy.
Galaxy Kaji Rugby
Primary schools rugby tournaments are held around the country with the finals consisting of regional teams from U9 to U14.
Administration and development of Referees is conducted by the FRU’s Referees’ Development Unit in consultation with the Fiji Rugby Referees Association FRRA. This association is affiliated with the FRU.