Fiji Rugby says they are in advanced discussions with New Zealand Rugby to alternate hosting of the existing January fixture on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In March 2018, with extensive support from the Fijian 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 Francis Kean says that whilst it was disappointing for Fiji’s bid to be unsuccessful, he appreciated World Rugby’s reasons.
FRU Chairman Commander Francis Kean and Flying Fijians coach John McKee [Photo: RNZ]
Kean says they understand that player welfare concerns drove the decision by World Rugby not to expand the Series beyond its existing ten tournaments, and they respect that decision.
However, in a boost to keeping Fiji’s dreams of bringing the Sevens tournament to the islands alive, NZ Rugby 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.
World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby representatives have also come for site reviews and discussions in the past weeks.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass has confirmed reports that NZ Rugby are talking to World Rugby and Fiji Rugby about hosting the event in Fiji during the 2020 to 2023 cycle.
NZRU Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass
Cass says 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. He says an option being looked at is alternating the tournament between Hamilton and Fiji and early negotiations are promising.
Kean also adds that they are certain a 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.
NZ 7s Tim Mikkelson contests a high ball against Fiji's Paula Dranisinukula
He says as they do at many existing tournaments in the Series, Fijian fans will turn out in their thousands to support their team, and they expect to attract large volumes of overseas rugby fans to experience Fiji’s hospitality and passion for Sevens rugby.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.