Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka believes that the game of rugby reflects our way of life and also espouses our Fijian and Pacific values.
Rabuka made this comment during the new sponsorship deal which he launched together with Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, and International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy yesterday.
Through the PacificAus Sports Program of the Australian Government, the Fijian and Fijiana Drua have been boosted by $6.2 million for another four years after a funding commitment of $52 million from 2019 to 2023.
“Within two years of engagement in the Super Rugby competitions, we have seen the return of your investment and support in the lives of our families and communities,” Rabuka said.
“Our young people now have the opportunity to dare to dream about a life that sports can offer them. Your contribution to our sporting teams through the PacificAus Sports Program, which I’m told is the most successful Australian funded program in Fiji, will contribute to the development of our people in ways we cannot imagine right now.”
Rabuka also acknowledged Australia’s ongoing support towards the development of rugby at all levels in Fiji.
He highlighted that it is incumbent upon our Fijian warriors to maintain our ethos and demonstrate that true rugby obliges a greater honour than oneself, contributing to the growth of the game that promotes unity, inclusivity and character development.
“Today is also a special day as we acknowledge and pay tribute to the Government and the people of Australia. It would be remiss of me not to mention the DFAT’s Office of the Pacific and Australian Rugby Union. Without you, we would never have seen the rise and success of our DRUA men and women’s teams.”
Speaking on behalf of the Australian Government, Minister Conroy said the Australian Government understands the power of rugby that brings people together.
“Through the PacificAus Sports program, we are offering pathways for Fijian players, coaches and officials to train, exchange and engage with Australia’s rugby community and this enhances our people-to-people links and deepens our bonds, providing more opportunities for Fijian players, women and men, to compete in elite competitions.”
The PacificAus Sports program aims to strengthen connections between Australia and the Pacific region by supporting Pacific teams and athletes to realise their dreams.