Talks underway for NZRU & FRU to alternate hosting 7s HSBC leg

The sea of blue during the Fiji Airways Fiji and Wales during the HSBC Hamilton 7's. Picture: RAMA/FILE

WHEN one door closes another one opens for the loyal Fiji 7s rugby fans.

This is after talks are currently underway by the World Rugby as the New Zealand Rugby Union offering to take turns with the Fiji Rugby Union in hosting their leg of the World Sevens Series in Fiji.

After months of commitments and sacrifice bidding for a HSBC tournament to be held on our shores, the World Rugby suggested that they will complete the four years schedule with the ten current tournaments before they could negotiate to include an 11th event in Fiji after.

The FRU Chairperson 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,” said Kean.

“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 and 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,” said Cass.

Meanwhile Kean said hosting a tournament in Fiji will attract a huge number of spectators locally and overseas knowing the craziness of Fijian fans when it comes to rugby 7s.

“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 like 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,” Kean added.

“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.”

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