Rugby League

Civoniceva Talks About Rugby League Benefits

The rugby league legend joined Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama in launching the ‘Kaiviti Silktails’ last Friday.
14 Oct 2019 14:31
Civoniceva Talks About Rugby League Benefits
Fiji Men’s Prime Minister’s XIII full-back Josua Waqavesi in action against the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII at ANZ Stadium in Suva on October 11, 2019 . Photo: Ronald Kumar

The inclusion of a Fijian rugby league team in Australia’s Ron Massey Cup will help grow the sport locally and bring economic opportunities for players, says Petero Civoniceva.

The rugby league legend joined Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama in launching the ‘Kaiviti Silktails’ last Friday.

The team, named after a native bird, will participate in the competition from next year, with 10 matches to be played in Fiji.

Civoniceva was the driving force behind the agreement, signed between the Fiji National Rugby League and the New South Wales Rugby League. Fiji’s application was supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT).

It’s a bid to assist the development of the game in Fiji and provide a pathway for local players into the National Rugby League (NRL).  The home games will also give organisers a chance to promote Fiji as an ideal sports tourism destination, with the sector worth roughly US$7.68 billion (FJ$16.9 billion) globally.

“Rugby league is definitely on the rise in Fiji and we’re going to keep providing lots of opportunities for our youths to come through and dream about representing their country on a global stage,” Civoniceva said.

“The economic benefits are part of what we are trying to do. It’s huge also for the growth of rugby league in Fiji.”

Civoniceva said the players will live in a facility in Nadi where they will undergo similar training to the Australian teams. This is to ensure the players are familiar with the systems and processes should they sign with an Australian team in the future.

“The whole idea is that when these players leave our system to go to Australia, they’re not foreign. They will be familiar with it because we have given them that education,” Civoniceva added.

“I think the most important thing is we do not want to develop the players as footballers but also as young men off the field as well, giving them the tools they need for success.”

He said that in sport, it wasn’t just about what you did on the field but also what you did off it.

The Ron Massey Cup runs parallel to the NRL, with 13 teams competing from around March to September.

“I think we’ve got a special opportunity to promote Fiji in the way our players conduct themselves in Sydney and continue to foster that wonderful relationship which we have between both countries,” Ciovniceva said.

Edited Leone Cabenatabua

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