Fiji Rugby today launched the 14 round Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup competition celebrating a rainbow emerging out of the disruptive COVID-19 storm clouds of 2020.
In a function attended by the eight participation Unions at the Wesley Church Hall, Fiji Rugby revealed the new look format of the nation’s premier competition set to commence next Saturday, July 25.
Fiji Rugby Chief Executive Officer John O’Connor extended his appreciation to the Unions and major partners for their steely resolve to see rugby hit the field in 2020.
He particularly thanked CJ Patel Group of Companies for their continuous support of the Skipper Cup, a breeding ground for champions of Fiji.
“I would like to thank CJ Patel Group for being by Fiji Rugby’s side when it comes to a competition that is the pinnacle for Domestic rugby in this country.
We know all teams playing in this competition play to represent their province with pride and set the example for young players to strive to reach this level.”
“In tough economic times, we are grateful to CJ Patel for believing in rugby and supporting the Clubs and the competition operations.”
Mr Ashwin Prasad, Chief Marketing Officer for CJ Patel said the company was committed to standing by the Fijian people through their support of the Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup.
“There is no doubt we are experiencing tough times as a nation, but as a company we feel it is important to help people find joy and hope in light of those times, which is why we stand firm in our support of the Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup” he said.
“We are Fijian, it is our nature to smile and have fun in the face of all adversity, and rugby is that place we can turn to in these moments.”
Prior to the pandemic disruptions, the FRU Board had agreed on the exciting new two-round home and away fixture that provides players and fans with more top quality rugby to enjoy across the season.
As an additional fire in the iron for team’s throughout the season, the much revered Farebrother Sullivan Trophy Challenge will be integrated into the Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup competition, much like that of the Ranfurly Shield in New Zealand.
Mr O’Connor said “For the first time in history the Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup Competition will be played for two rounds on a home and away basis in collaboration with the Farebrother Trophy Challenge.
“Therefore each home game of the ‘holder’ will be a ‘Farebrother Challenge’ providing double incentive for victory, and further excitement for teams and fans to enjoy the spectacle of those epic clashes.”
The round one opener is sure to be an epic affair with Skipper Cup holders Suva challenging the retaining Farebrother champions, Nadroga.
Mr O’Connor said whilst the return of rugby is a welcome privilege for teams and fans alike, it is critical everyone remains diligent to adhering to the government COVID-19 regulations.
“These new formats uphold both the tournament conditions and the return-to-rugby protocols that are now in place” Mr O’Connor explained.
He added that this comes in the wake of contact sports being permitted to resume and sporting venues allowed to have 50 percent occupancy.
For fans who may not be able to make it to see their teams live in action, FBC Sports will continue to broadcast one live match per week.
Adding more competitive edge to the season is the much anticipated impact of the nation’s top international representatives, with members of the Fijian 7s, Flying Fijians and Fijiana 7s all expected to suit up for their provincial Clubs.
The Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup will again host three divisions with Senior men, Under 19s and Women with the eight Unions participating being Nadroga, Namosi, Naitasiri, Suva, Tailevu, Nadi and the newly promoted Yasawa and Lautoka.
The Fiji Rugby Skipper Cup kicks off on Saturday 25th July with Nadroga versus arch rivals Suva at Lawaqa Park, Naitaisiri meets Lautoka at Ratu Cakobau Park, Yasawa plays Nadi at Churchill Park and Namosi battles it out against Tailevu at Thompson Park in Navua.
The finals are scheduled for Saturday the 7th November this year.