The new chair of the Fiji Rugby Union is confident the governing body can weather the Covid-19 storm and says it’s time they received a bigger slice of the international rugby pie.

Fiji Rugby announced in April it was cutting costs in an attempt to manage the financial fallout from the coronavirus.

Conway Beg was appointed to the FRU Board late last month by the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who is also President of the rugby union.

The pandemic was causing upheaval with sporting organisations all over the world and Fiji Rugby was no different.

“In terms of how it’s impacted us in our capacity to operate – i’d be lying if I didn’t say it was,” Beg explained. “Of course it does, it’s affected everybody, [but] it’s how you deal with it, how you move forward from that, how you plan and get strategies in place that do work, that do function and can make a difference.”

“Yes, resources are something that we’ve addressed, we’ve had to look at and we’re going to continue to address that. As we move along we have to look at our cashflow and there is all these elements in running rugby that hasn’t been easy at all.”

One way to boost resources and income was to play more matches against tier one countries. Beg said it was time Fiji Rugby was treated fairly on the international stage.

“We haven’t had our fair share of participating in the big arena, for the reasons that people talk about, but I think it’s time to move forward and address that and this is the time to plan, go away and look at things with the reset button in place,” he said.

“We’re working with the region. I’d like to see our regional partners play a more active role with us moving forward.”

The Flying Fijians are poised to feature in an eight-team tournament alongside Japan and the Six Nations rugby countries in the Northern Hemisphere later this year after Covid-19 forced a rethink of the global calendar.

Fijian teams have featured in the Australian National Rugby Competition and Rapid Rugby competitions but have always faced resistance from SANZAAR over attempts to join Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

“We also want to see ourselves aligning more professionally, taking part it more serious competitions to better prepare our players for the test calendar,” Beg said.

“We’ve got to look at that as well and how that fits in with the bigger picture in the world calendar and also in the region. It’s easy to criticise but I think, in fairness, we’ve got an opportunity to move forward and solidify that.”

The Suva Rugby Union stalwart isn’t interested in laying blame, however, and said talks with his New Zealand and Australian counterparts about working more closely together have been promising.

RNZ

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