Fiji Rugby Awards Night Great Idea; Congratulations To Kean And Board
Fiji Rugby Union board chairman Francis Kean’s announcement of the first Fiji Rugby Awards night is welcome.
It was long overdue. Mr Kean and his band must be commended for this initiative. At the moment, only some provincial rugby unions like Suva and Nadroga hold their annual awards where they recognise players.
In other unions it’s reduced to the end-of-year breakup party for booze, food and entertainment. There is little done to officially recognise the various clubs, players and officials that participate in the competition and contribute to its coffers and the performance of outstanding players, coaches etc.
The new awards are modelled on the same concept used by other rugby playing nations, especially the tier-one countries like New Zealand and Australia.
It’s a good time to pause and recognise the often unheralded work and achievements of those involved in rugby around the country and celebrate rugby at all levels.
The launching of the awards could not have happened at a better time.
Our golden victory in the Rio Olympics 7s final ranks as our greatest sporting achievement so far. We may have missed out on the World Rugby Awards but our local version is expected to restore our national pride and honour.
One gets the feeling that the awards reflect the thinking of the FRU board that more should be done to recognise the contribution of our locally-based players who do not earn as much as their overseas-based colleagues.
Even if the financial rewards do not match, it’s the thought that counts.
Many of our locally-based players play because of their passion for rugby and pride in their country.
It is this spirit that the national awards would recognise, celebrate and promote.
It’s the same spirit that won us gold in Rio for the first time. Despite our financial challenges, our sevens heroes played with pride in their country to win gold.
The December 15 event at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay will be a fantastic ocassion. It will bring together members of the rugby fraternity for a night to remember. And it will become a permanent fixture in our rugby calendar as an annual event.
There will be nine main awards identifying players of the year in 7s and 15s for the male and female categories, primary school and secondary schools, best coach, best team and rugby administrator of the year.
There will also be a Life Time Achievement Award to a great rugby ambassador.
There will be four nominees in each category and the nominee that receives the most number of votes will walk away with the Vodafone People’s Choice trophy as well as a Samsung 7 mobile phone.
Other commercial organisations that have joined Vodafone in supporting this annual awards night are Novotel Suva Lami Bay (Official hotel and host venue), HFC Bank (Official bank), FIJI Water (Official water), Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji (Official sports drink), Dog Father Sports Bar (Official sports bar partner), Communications Fiji Limited (Official promotional partner) and Fiji Sun (Official newspaper).
The big interest is this event highlights the confidence that the sponsors have about the potential for the event to grow.
It will be something that the rugby community here will look forward to every year.
So to Mr Kean and his team: Congratulations on a great idea.