PacificAus Sport steps in to boost Fiji women’s rugby growth

Fiji Rugby Union and Oceania Rugby, the regional governing body for rugby union, are partnering with the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports in a number of initiatives aimed to positively impact gender equality through the Oceania Rise Rugby Project.

Fiji is one of the nations that will receive targeted support through the project that spans over three years.

In Fiji, the three-year collaboration is by way of a much-needed injection into domestic girls’ rugby competition by supporting the Raluve Secondary Schools Competition. It will also fund two new full-time positions in senior management for women within Fiji Rugby, and training on governance and strategy with provincial rugby unions throughout Fiji.

The project, the FRU said in a statement responds directly to the surge in popularity of rugby for girls in Fiji and seeks to address the most significant gaps in the women’s rugby pathway and women in the management of the sport.

“Rise Rugby follows the recent international success of Fiji women’s teams at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, 2022 Super W competition, and 2022 Commonwealth Games has inspired girls of all ages to join the game and seeks to improve the representation of women in paid and unpaid senior sport management roles.”

Australia’s Chargé d’Affaires in Fiji, John Williams said, “The Rise Rugby Project would boost the participation of women and girls in rugby at all levels by providing a clear pathway for players to reach their full potential.

It will also ensure women’s voices are heard in the management of rugby in Fiji.”

Fiji Secondary School Rugby Union President, Jone Kanalagi, said, “FSSRU as organizers of the Weet-bix Raluve Competition is indeed grateful that the Australian Government has come on board to be a sponsor for the Fiji Secondary School Girls Rugby for the next three years.

“It means a lot to the growth of the Raluve Competition and FSSRU will ensure that the sponsorship will be directed at areas of need to develop and finance the growth of the sport for girls in Secondary Schools.”

The Weetbix Raluve Championship has opened access to rugby for secondary school age girls, and the response has been astounding – In the U16 and U18 girls, an incredible 72 schools are participating in the four different zones which are Eastern, Southern, Northern and Central.

 Oceania Rugby Sport for Development and Partnerships Manager Erin Hatton explained: “The Oceania Rise Rugby Project is a game-changer for women in rugby in the region. It is driving a series of strategies and initiatives over three years. Some activities serve all countries across our region, including Directors Training, women’s rugby-specific learning resources, and an Oceania Women in Rugby Network and mentoring program.

“And four countries are receiving more concerted support for senior domestic competition and women in sport management – Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. This sort of significant and focused support is so valuable to always unions. Instead of inching forward in the women’s sport space, that can take great strides and make meaningful progress.”

Raluve Secondary Schools Rugby
This is the inaugural year for the Weet-bix Raluve Cup. The participating schools have been playing in their zones in the last few months, after which the top eight teams (two each from four zones) will qualify for the national quarterfinal. The quarterfinals will be played on the 17 Sept at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori, Semifinals on 1 October at Prince Charles Park and the Finals at Churchill Park in Lautoka on 8 October.

Photo: Fiji Rugby

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