Suva (Fiji Times) – PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji would like to host one of the tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Speaking at a private dinner for the World Rugby delegates at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa in Nadi on Monday evening, Bainimrama who is the Fiji Rugby Union president said every Fijian was hoping their world champion 7s team could bring back the first gold medal from the Rio Olympics in August.
“We would like to eventually host the World Sevens competition here,” he said.
“And we are all looking forward to the first Rugby World Cup in Asia in 2019.
“I guess there are few places in the world where the country’s leader is also the president of the local rugby union.
“But that is the case in Fiji and I’m very proud of the fact. Because it reflects the importance of rugby in our national life and the value we place here in paradise on the game they play in heaven”.
Fiji is the reigning champion of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series having won the title back to back in 2014/2015, 2015/2016 editions.
The World Rugby delegation included incoming chairman Bill Beaumont, Agustin Pichot, Brett Gosper, David Carrigy, Richie McCaw and John Jeffrey.
“It is a great honour to have played host to you in Fiji for the first ever meeting in the Pacific Islands of the World Rugby committee,”Bainimarama told the delegates.
“Just as it is an honour to host the union representatives from Tonga and Samoa, Fiji’s rivals in the Pacific Nations Cup but above all our neighbours and friends.
“It was a wonderful game in Suva on Saturday and for Fiji, an uncomfortably close score 23-18 win.
“Vinaka vakalevu, Tonga, for a great spectacle. We certainly look forward to meeting Samoa this weekend.
“But while we all play to win as individual nations, it is the health of rugby in our region that ultimately binds us together and is our main priority.
“And we very much appreciate the importance that is being attached by World Rugby to strengthening the game in the islands.
“This committee meeting has been an important part of that effort, including the presentation of our high performance and competition reports.
“The renewed emphasis on the needs of our players is reflected on the committee itself with the choice of Richie McGaw as the players’ representative.
“Rugby greats don’t come any greater than Richie and it’s been wonderful to again welcome him to Fiji.
“It is a great era for rugby in the Pacific in both the 15s and the 7s and the game has never been stronger or more popular.”
Bainimarama said the country was looking forward to hosting the Super Rugby clash between the Crusaders and the Chiefs next month.
“My Government has contributed $2million towards bringing the Super Rugby game to Fiji for the first time,” he said.
“We all look forward to the Crusaders and the Chiefs going head to head at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on July the 1st.
“I want to thank World Rugby for financing the Pacific Nations Cup and for everything else you are doing to strengthen the game, including improving our standards of governance.
“I can assure you of the full support of both the FRU and the Fijian Government for this program of reform. Because whatever the challenges it has brought, it is ultimately good for the code, good for the players and good for everyone who loves rugby,” he added.