Fiji could be one step closer to hosting the world’s best sports event if negotiations continue to prosper with Oceania colleagues, New Zealand Rugby (NZR).
Fiji Rugby today confirmed they are in advanced discussions with NZR to alternate hosting of the existing January fixture on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In March 2018, with extensive support from the Fiji Government, Fiji Rugby submitted a bid to World Rugby proposing the introduction of an 11th leg of the Series, to be played in October as a new Opening round. World Rugby since announced, whilst Fiji’s bid was very attractive, the current ten tournament structure will remain in place for the next four years.
FRU Chairman Commander Frances Kean said that whilst it was disappointing for the bid to be unsuccessful, he appreciated World Rugby’s reasons.
“We understand that player welfare concerns drove the decision by World Rugby not to expand the Series beyond its existing ten tournaments, and we respect that decision” he said.
However, in a boost to keeping Fiji’s dreams of bringing the Sevens tournament to the islands alive, NZR has offered to alternate it’s hosting of the New Zealand 7’s with Fiji, with Kean advising that current discussions and negotiations are at an advanced stage.
“We are humbled and grateful to New Zealand Rugby for offering to alternate hosting of their leg of the tournament with Fiji and appreciate the trust our rugby brothers are showing in our capability to do so.
We have held productive discussions with NZR for some time, including the hosting of World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby representatives for site reviews and discussions in the past weeks.”
New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer, Nigel Cass confirmed reports that NZR were talking to World Rugby and Fiji Rugby about hosting the event in Fiji during the 2020-2023 cycle.
“Everyone has seen the contribution of the Fijian rugby community to the success of the tournament in Hamilton both on the field and in the stands. An option being looked at is alternating the tournament between Hamilton and Fiji and early negotiations are promising.”
Kean added, “We are certain an HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Fiji will have the full support of Government and together with the people of Fiji, will deliver a unique experience for the players in hosting a successful tournament for World Rugby.
As they do at many existing tournaments in the Series, Fijian fans will turn out in their thousands to support their team, and we expect to attract large volumes of overseas rugby fans to experience Fiji’s hospitality and passion for Sevens rugby.
We still have a lot of work to get this over the line and our priority is to continue to work very hard to ensure we achieve full compliance for World Rugby and NZ Rugby compliance requirements in the next month, and we look forward to then making further announcements about hosting the tournament in due course.”
(Source:Fiji Rugby Union)