Vuvale through sport

  • Joint media release:
  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
  • Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
  • Phil Thompson OAM MP, Federal Member for Herbert

Australia and Fiji are teaming up for a new sports partnership that will capture the heart and spirit of Vuvale between our two countries.

Through Australia’s PacificAus Sports program, this partnership will support women and men’s rugby teams to enter Australia’s Super W competition and the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition as early as 2022.

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, said the partnership reinforces the strong bonds between Australia and Fiji.

“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.”

This partnership builds on earlier investments by Australia to support Fijian teams to access semi-professional careers in Australia, including the Kaiviti Silktails in the NSW Ron Massey Cup.

Member for Herbert Phil Thompson said the sporting talent in the Pacific was clear from watching the PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens.

“The quality of this tournament and the new partnership with Fiji announced today reflects the excellent relationships we have with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby, and their dedication to making rugby union in the Pacific the best it can be.”

The Australian Government has also assisted Fiji’s Olympic preparations, supporting their men’s and women’s teams to participate in this weekend’s PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens tournament at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos welcomed Australia’s decision to support Fiji’s men’s and women’s programs, given the special status of rugby in the Fiji-Australia relationship.

“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,” Mr Marinos said.

“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 for development pathways in the Pacific.”

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