Stage set for return of Coral Coast 7s

Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens returns after a two-year absence in January 2023 with a strong lineup, a big-name ambassador, renewed financial support, and elevation into Fiji’s Super Sevens Series. 

The 11-year-old tournament, which began in 2010 with a dream to host a highly competitive final tournament that gathered premium Fijian rugby talent in one place for the benefit of Fiji Rugby selectors was postponed for two years due to COVID. 

Now a part of the Fiji Rugby Union Fun Flavour Super Sevens Series circuit with further funding by the McDonald’s Family Restaurant, the tournament will take place on January 12-14 just before the Australian leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens 2022-2023 season. 

“Teams who take part in this tournament endure huge challenges to be able to compete in this tournament because they have to win a local qualifier to make it into the lineup of over forty teams. It makes the McDonalds Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens title one of the hardest-fought championships wins. We are grateful that we can work with McDonald’s Fiji and the Fiji Rugby Union to elevate the tournament to yet another level,” tournament Director Jay Whyte said. 

Marc McElrath, McDonald’s Fiji Managing Director said the company was committed to Fijian rugby. 

“Fiji Rugby unites the family of people who make up our beloved country. Our company is committed to families and this tournament is our way of ensuring our Fiji rugby talent remains supported,” Mr. McElrath said. 

As part of the tournament’s family-friendly vision, the McDonald’s Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens will field  an equal number of women’s teams as men’s entries and equalize the prize money to winning teams. 

At its last edition in 2020, the McDonald’s Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens had 42 participating teams spread across 16 mens, 12 women’s and 16 youth teams. 

“This year we are welcoming 16 women’s teams to the tournament, and we are also working with our very hardworking women’s movement to encourage a level rugby playing field. After our Tokyo Olympic bronze medal, it should be clear to all now that our rugby talent pool has equal parts men and women,” Mr. Whyte said. 

“The abuse our women rugby players used to face just for playing this game thankfully has stopped, and it continues with us making sure the playing field is equal and remains equal.” 

Tournament Ambassador Collins Injera, former Kenyan dual rugby international is currently the world’s second top try scorer said he is keen to come to a country he dreams of playing against. 

The 2008–09 IRB Sevens Player of the Year Nominee was the top try scorer for the 2008 /2009 IRB Sevens World Series season with 42 tries. 

As Ambassador of FCC7s, Injera will travel to and stay in Fiji for one week during which he will meet and share rugby wisdom with tournament players and rugby fans. 

Mr Whyte said the McDonalds Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens, which was returning in its first post-COVID tournament, would be made bigger and more exciting by Injera’s inclusion. 

“All the rugby greats who accept the invitation to be FCC7s brand ambassadors are legends, and we work very hard with multiple local partners for months to make their visit possible. It is a great privilege to be able to bring Collins Injera and continue the trend of having a brand ambassador who will inspire,” Mr Whyte said.

“During the McDonald’s Rugby Skills Clinic for aspiring rugby players, Injera will share the message of making great rugby dreams happen with measurable rugby goals. It is a major goal of the McDonald’s Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens to provide high-level entertaining rugby which inspires but also educates.” 

Injera joins the footsteps of other rugby greats who have been Coral Coast Sevens ambassadors which include Waisale Serevi, David Campese, Ben Gollings, Viliame Satala, Jonah Lomu, DJ Forbes, Karl Tenana, Lote Tuqiri,George Gregan and Rupeni Caucau. 

The top eight teams from the 2021-2022 Fun Flavor Super Sevens Series qualify automatically into the McDonald’s Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens Series. 

Ten top-tier overseas teams have also confirmed participation as tournament organisers work to ensure logistics week-long event will cater to the increase in interest to be on Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens on July 12. Arrangements include a high-level organising committee and commentators from Australia and New Zealand.

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