SPORTS

Our Women’s Rugby Moves Ahead

FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor said that women’s rugby in the country had come a long way.
09 Jul 2020 16:10
Our Women’s Rugby Moves Ahead
Members of the Fiji Women rugby squad who were inducted at the Wesley Hall in Suva, on July 8, 2020. Photo: FRU Media

Dedication, commitment and sacrifices have paved the way forward for women’s rugby in the country.

History was made yesterday when more than 30 women rugby players were inducted into the Fiji Rugby Union’s Women’s Development Induction at the Wesley Hall in Suva.

FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor said that women’s rugby in the country had come a long way.

“I remember when I joined in 2016 there was nothing about women’s rugby,” O’Connor said.

“The board then had a vision that we needed to provide opportunities for girls and women.

“So they issued me instruction that we need to look at ways that we can develop a women’s competitions and so forth.

“We created this pathway where we have signed-up 30 players.

“I reminded the players that their contracts are not it.

“So we expect some changes in their behaviour but more importantly a change in mindset.

“We are creating a system that will give the choice to young girls that rugby is a sport they can choose at a young age. “There are pathways that can lead them to national representation.

“It’s been a struggle drips and daps on whatever we can afford. Those days there was no women’s competitions and had to rely on the sevens competitions to select our teams.

“It has been a long and difficult journey. I’m happy to open the induction so I reminded the players on the difficult journey that we came through.

“I thank the board for its commitment and foresight that we needed to give equal opportunities and I also thank World Rugby.”

O’Connor applaud the women for their patience and performance that led to their qualification to next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

“All this comes down to the performance of the girls. Two years of domestic competition and one year of fifteens competition so the girls have managed to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.

O’Connor said it was an emotional moment for him knowing of their humble beginning.

“It’s been a long journey so I’ve been through thick and thin with these girls, it was good to see them in proper uniform and attire,” he said.

“Now they really look like semi-professional rugby players. I believe that this will only inspire the next generation of young players.”

He is hopeful that are lot of new talents will be identified during the Skipper Cup Premiership which gets underway on July 25.

“I know most of them are facing challenges but we are keeping the big picture in mind that the world cup for women is next year so they need a lot of competition,” he said.

“We’ll leave no stones unturned just like the men’s team last year to make sure they are prepared well.

“They know that we are not going to make the numbers at the World Cup we are ranked 23rd and Samoa is at 12th, but yet we always beat them here. So we need to make a statement that we are serious.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper