Rugby Australia has today welcomed the Australian Government's announcement of PacificAus Sports funding to support Fiji Rugby Union’s high-performance programs.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, today announced funding to support Fiji Rugby Union in establishing teams that are capable of entering both the Harvey Norman Super Rugby and the Buildcorp Super W seasons as early as 2022.
Rugby AU CEO Andy Marinos said: “We would like to thank the Australian Government for its commitment to furthering the development of Rugby in our region and for their support of this weekend’s PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens tournament in Townsville.
“We have had the privilege of working with the Australian Government on a number of initiatives through the PacificAus Sports program. It is a powerful tool to aid development pathways in the Pacific.
“Rugby is a huge part of the Fijian way of life, so it is fitting that this funding will assist the Fiji Rugby Union in supporting its high-performance aspirations.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the partnership with Fiji Rugby Union, Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby, will build new careers for generations of talent and attract investment to support Fiji’s response to the economic impact of COVID-19.
“While the health security of our near neighbours remains a critical priority, sport will help facilitate the region’s cultural and economic recovery and help our countries stay connected,” Minister Payne said.
“Pacific nations have some of the most passionate rugby communities in the world and we want to see their talent showcased on the world stage."
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, acknowledged that the partnership reinforces the strong bonds Australia and Fiji share.
“Australia and Fiji share a proud history of rugby union exchange stretching back 70 years,” Minister Seselja said.
“As friends and rivals in sport, we bring out the best in each other.”
The Australian Government has also aided Fiji’s Olympic preparations, supporting their men’s and women’s teams to participate in this weekend’s PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
The tournament, supported by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Townsville City Council, forms a key part of preparations for Australia, Fiji and New Zealand ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
PacificAus Sports aims to build sustainable, elite sport pathways between Australia and the Pacific, with at least half of programmed activities supporting women and girls in sport.