Proposal to conduct provincial 7s tourneys

Action from the Annual National Provincial Girls 7s competition. Picture: ATU RASEA

The Annual National Provincial Girls 7s competition kicked off in Albert Park, Suva yesterday after a lapse of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 32 teams registered for the under- 17 and U19 grades.

The annual event was organised by the Fiji Rugby Union and funded by the UN Women Pacific with the theme — “Violence against women and girls is not in our game plan”.

Fiji Rugby Union women’s development manager Vela Naucukidi said the event was scheduled to take place last year.

“Just because of COVID-19, it was postponed, so we shifted the competition to this year, ” she said.

“UN Women Pacific has been sponsoring the competition. “In the past we had three grades U15, U17 and U19.

“And for this year only two grades are taking part which is the U17 and U19.”

Naucukidi said the competition was initiated to assist the local rugby unions in their recruitment.

“So, the unions can recruit women into their provincial competition and player base.

“That was the whole purpose apart from trying to expand and increase the numbers.

“That was one of the reasons why we did the NPC rather than having a secondary school girls’ tournament was just to help the unions to recruit players.

“As the women’s development manager, I’m so grateful that I have a team behind me that actually organised this tournament because I was away in Japan and arrived on Wednesday.

“We actually started planning before I left, but then while I was away, they continued on with organising the number of teams that had come through the last minute just to get them to participate today.

“I’m overwhelmed with the commitment of the teachers who are here.

“And to the parents, you know first of all it’s hard for the parents to allow the players to come and participate in rugby but to see some of the parents here actually supporting the girls.

“You don’t see that a few years back, but now we are actually changing the mindset, and changing behaviours.

“So, the parents are actually supporting their daughters to come and play and the pathway we have set up within rugby union has actually increased the numbers of women in rugby.”

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