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Opinion, Opinion

EDITORIAL: 2017 NRC Offers Rugby And More For Fans

EDITORIAL: 2017 NRC Offers Rugby And More For Fans
July 23
11:41 2017

We are ticking all the right boxes as far as our national sport is concerned.

The inclusion of a Fijian team in the 2017 Australian National Rugby Championship brought good tidings.

And the release of the draw on Friday was even more good news for rugby fans.

We will watch more championship rugby at home with the top Australian teams against our best from provincial rugby.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians have set the pace with outstanding wins against the Six Nations teams, Italy and Scotland, at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last month. And the John McKee-coached side capped it off with deserved wins away from home against Tonga and Samoa to clinch the Pacific Nations title.

The onus is now on Fiji’s second representative side to do the same. Definitely they will have the support of the Fijians as they will play four games at home.

The Fijians will host the NSW Country Eagles at Lawaqa Park in round three on September 16, before taking on Perth Spirit at Suva’s ANZ Stadium the following weekend on September 23.

They head to Churchill Park in Lautoka to face Queensland Country in round eight on October 21 and then return to Suva for their final home clash against the Sydney Rays on October 28.

Apart from their first game against Brisbane City at Ballymore Stadium on September 2, the other away games will be held in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

This is a good platform to showcase that we can be good hosts and also play rugby Fijian style to lift and add the profile of the NRC which has increased viewership by 65 per cent and attendances by 10 per cent last year.

With the support of World Rugby, Fiji Rugby Union and Government, if we can be good hosts and compete well against the Australian teams, this can be seen as a possible precursor towards Fiji making a bid to join a restructured Super Rugby competition in future. This is as part of a combined Pacific Islands team or on our own.

Apart from having the proper infrastructure, we need to have a strong player base to convince SANZAR for inclusion in Super Rugby in the future.

The NRC is the pathway to develop players for Super Rugby and the Flying Fijians.

Fans need to support the initiative as it augurs well for the nation and our national sport in future.



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