Rugby Australia has confirmed the Fijiana Drua will join Super W in 2022.
The move mirrors the decision to include the Drua and Moana Pasifika into Super Rugby as the competition expands into the Pacific.
They will be based in Australia for the entirety of the competition, with their squad set to be confirmed later today.
“I’d like to thank Foreign Minister Payne, Minister Seselja and their staff at DFAT for all of their support in helping bring the Fijiana to our shores,” RA CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement.
“Buildcorp Super W is one of the leading women’s XVs products in Rugby, and to be able to expand the competition to involve the Fijiana Drua will not only aid in their growth as a Rugby nation but also in providing more opportunities for our players.
“We look forward to seeing that familiar Fijian flair being displayed by both the Fijiana in Buildcorp Super W and the Fijian Drua in Harvey Norman Super Rugby.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to support Women’s Rugby, whether it’s the Sevens or XVs format of our game – it’s an exciting 12 months for women’s Rugby coming up, and I’d encourage everyone to get out and support.”
Their inclusion is backed by the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports program, with Senator the Hon Zed Seselja praising the decision.
“Now more than ever we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Pacific family,” Minister Seselja said.
“Building on our support to the Fijian Drua men’s team playing in Super Rugby Pacific, we are proud to continue our support for Fiji’s incredible sporting talent, and help the Fijiana Drua women’s XVs make this step into the Super W.”
The inclusion provides vital opportunities for the Fijiana ahead of the World Cup in October, with Fiji Rugby Union CEO, John Masi OConnor, ‘humbled’ by the opportunity to compete in Super W.
“We are humbled and sincerely thankful to the Board and Management of Rugby Australia for this great opportunity,” he said.
“This is also historical for Fiji Rugby and for Rugby in Fiji and will provide pathway opportunity for our young girls and woman in Fiji.
“We are excited with this great opportunity since it will continue to enhance the growth of woman’s rugby in Fiji and the competitiveness of all our Women’s National Team.
“We also sincerely acknowledge and thank the Australian Government through the PacificAus Sports programme for their support in our inclusion into the Super W Competition.”
“Fijiana’s inclusion into Buildcorp Super W has come off the back of a lot of hard work and persistence from all parties involved,” Fiji Rugby Union General Manager, High-Performance Simon Raiwalui added.
“The competition is stepping into its next stage of its evolution and it’s great to have Fijiana not only representing Women’s Rugby in Fiji but Women’s Rugby in the Pacific when they step out onto the field in round one.
“Our aim is to give as many opportunities to Fijian based talent as we can, and this announcement certainly comes as another step in that direction.”
SOURCE: RUGBY.COM.AU/ PACNEWS