SPORTS

Analysis: Apart From Skipper Cup, Fijiana Need More Genuine Competition

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor and his team must be given due credit for including women in Skipper Cup Premiership competition.
15 Aug 2021 14:07
Analysis: Apart From Skipper Cup, Fijiana Need More Genuine Competition
Team Fiji women’s rugby sevens coach Saiasi Fuli (left), Reapi Uluinasau, Tikiko Namua (fitness trainer) and Aloesi Nakoci at Nadi International Airport on August 11, 2021. They are now undergoing quarantine at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa in Denarau, Nadi. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Providing more genuine competitions is an underlying theme to develop women’s rugby in the country.

The success story of the Team Fiji Fijiana in winning bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics is the culmination of hard work and wise decision –making of those at Rugby House,

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor and his team must be given due credit for including women in Skipper Cup Premiership competition.

And the Fijiana need more competitions, something former coaches like Iliesa Tanivula and Ro Alivereti Doviverata drastically lacked in trying to put Fijian on a competitive edge on the world sevens circuit in the past.

Current Fijian coach Saiasi Fuli took the extra length to provide the women proper game time by playing men’s teams in Suva every Wednesday at Bidesi Park.

And with extra devotion and commitment, the plan paid dividend swhen our women beat Australia for the first time during the Oceania 7s in Townsville in June.

It was the momentum swing, Fuli needed as they defeated the Aussies again in the Tokyo Olympics last month and came close to toppling New Zealand with the Kiwis winning in extra time after the 17-17 stalemate.

And while we thank the Australian Government for contributing to our success in Tokyo, we need to have genuine local competition for our women.

There has been sudden interest since our 8th placing in Rio five years ago.

And it continues to grow after third placing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Big impact

Having become the first women to win an Olympic medal for Fiji, the signs suggest that the team’s exploits in Tokyo could have an even bigger impact.

Fuli said: “Straight after that bronze medal win I had hundreds of calls from girls in Fiji and Fijians overseas wanting to come and join the Fijiana.

“That is the positive impact of this Olympic tournament and it motivates and encourages young girls in Fiji to take up the sport and increase the number of women’s participation in Fiji.”

Slowly getting the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s hope everything returns to normalcy by October so that rugby and other sports can resume.

We need more that the Skipper Cup Premiership and the Super Sevens Series for our women.

The FRU needed to formulate more comp to involve our women in both 7s and 15s tournaments.

Playing with the men in the FRU sanctioned tournaments could the way forward for our women.

Let’s hope they will have the numbers and the drawcard to operate on their own and organise their own tournament.

This is the right time to build on it as we are on cusp of more good tidings following our success story in Tokyo.

Now in quarantine in Nadi, there has never been a better time to take advantage of our success in Tokyo.

They put Fiji on the pedestal and hit the headlines for the very right reason being gracious in defeat and humble and honourable in victory.

That’s the trademark of good sportsmanship.

And to top it off, captain Rusila was flagbearer in the opening and closing ceremony.

As former director of women’s rugby Chris Cracknell said: “If you look at their stories and their backgrounds and where they’ve come from, what they’ve overcome and why they’re pushing themselves, it’s an amazing story.”

The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa are the targets for Fijiana in 2022.

And while we thank the Australia Government for providing the impetus for our teams to succeed, Fijiana has proven that they deserve more recognition, care and competitions on the domestic front.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
Advertise here
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper