Fiji wants to build on Olympic gold with Sevens World Series leg
The Fiji Rugby Union today outlined its intention to bid to host a future round of rugby sevens’ HSBC Sevens World Series, almost a year on from the country winning Olympic gold.
The series locations are locked in until the end of the 2018-19 season, and the FRU said it hopes to be part of the next cycle ahead of the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Speaking at a gala dinner in Suva, Fiji prime minister and FRU president Frank Bainimarama said: "Our men’s Fiji team has been renowned as one of the finest exponents of running 7’s rugby for decades, and we have been a dominant force on the international stage. But our country doesn’t currently have a major international sevens event that places us properly on the world stage. We do not have a major sevens event that befits our position as Olympic Men’s Rugby 7s champions.
"Tonight, as president of the Fiji Rugby Union, I am delighted to announce that the FRU will be bidding for a Fijian leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series to be played here in our country."
The dinner was organised for Fiji to commemorate the one-year anniversary of its first Olympic medal as it beat Great Britain in the final of the men's sevens in Rio de Janeiro on 12 August, 2016.
Francis Kean, chairman of the FRU, said the board's recently approved strategic plan identified the hosting of a leg of the Sevens World Series as a key priority.
He added: "The benefits of hosting a leg are truly significant. From the financial benefits to our economy flowing from the tourism and spending, to the massive global exposure of such an event, hosting a leg of the world sevens series positions our country favourably alongside the current other 10 cities. Plus, it gives our sevens team a chance to play in front of a home crowd, in front of their families and friends.
"We will be investing a lot of time, energy and resources over the next six months, putting in the hard yards so that we are ready to submit a compelling bid."
The union has launched the fijifor7s.com website for Fijians to register their support.
The 10 cities on the 2017-18 circuit are Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Hamilton, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and London.
Hamilton has replaced Wellington as the host of the New Zealand leg. Wellington had staged the country's tournament since 2011, but had struggled to sell tickets in recent years.