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Editorial: Let’s back FRU’s bid to host a HSBC Sevens World Series tournament

Editorial: Let’s back FRU’s bid to host a HSBC Sevens World Series tournament
August 12
13:38 2017

Everyone in Fiji and Fijians abroad will support the Fiji Rugby Union bid to host a leg of the HBSC Sevens World Series.

Prime Minister and president of the Fiji Rugby Union, Voreqe Bainimarama, launched the six-month campaign at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Friday night.

During this period, we have to ensure that we meet the criteria set by World Rugby.

The fact that we are bidding to be a venue for a tournament shows we are confident that we have the capacity to host one.

One of the criteria would be the projected attendance. It has been proved so many times in the past that when we host top class rugby here people will go and watch.

We once hosted a Fiji International Sevens tournament here and it attracted a consistent and a big legion of fans.

If we get awarded this time again, then our challenge is to maintain it for as long as we can.

Wellington tried after several successful years. In the end the novelty wore off and the spectator numbers dropped. Hamilton is the new venue and the theory is that because it sits between Auckland and Wellington it will attract people from both halves of the North Island.

Suva must show that it can cater for 16 teams with their respective fan clubs. That means we have the hotel room capacity to accommodate everyone. If Fiji gets it and the dates are set, tourists who love rugby will plan their holiday around these dates. It will be a wonderful occasion for many of our overseas visitors.

The World Rugby will most likely focus on our infrastructure and our capacity. That should be no problem. If there is a need to upgrade, the FRU will be able to cope with the support of the Government and its corporate backers.

We have the right credentials to host the tournament. We are former World Cup and World Series champions. We are the first Olympic gold medallist. One year after we won that gold, many still talk about how a small Pacific Island nation with limited resources was able to win the top prize.

Our reputation on the sevens circuit is a drawcard.

We have to convince the World Rugby powers that we have what it takes to host a tournament. This means one of the current hosts will lose out.

It will come from one of the poor performing venues in terms of crowd numbers and the financial returns.

Let’s get behind the PM and the FRU and let World Rugby know that we deserve a  shot at hosting a tournament. The success of the Crusaders and Chiefs clash at the ANZ Stadium proves that any top billing will attract the crowd.

A two-day tournament will attract an even bigger crowd. For Fiji, it will be a major boost for tourism.

For World Rugby, granting Fiji a hosting right, will be a fine gesture. It will show that it has not forgotten the tier two countries. Ultimately the bid will depend on the support the FRU bid gets from local and overseas fans and our friends from around the globe.



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