The Australian Government has announced that it would provide funding that will help support the Fijian and Fijiana Drua teams.
The investment as part of the next phase of the PacificAus Sports funding ensures their participation in the Super Rugby Pacific and Super W competitions over four years.
Both teams have thrived since their inclusion in their respective competitions, with the Fijiana Drua claiming back-to-back Super W titles in 2022 and 2023.
As for the Fijian Drua, they made history with their first finals appearance in 2023.
The success of the Drua has translated into the men’s national team, with 18 players included in Fiji’s Rugby World Cup side, which made the quarter-finals for the first time in 16 years.
“Australia and Fiji share a deep love of Rugby. Rugby doesn’t just build mutual respect and pride; it brings our nations together through shared goals, heroes, and achievements,” Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy said in a statement.
“This $6.2m (US$3.9 million) funding commitment builds our previous $3.75m (US$2.3 million) investment over the last three years that supported establishing the Fijian teams and their Super Rugby Pacific and Super W competition entry
“The Albanese Government is proud to support the continued growth of the Fijian and Fijiana Drua. Our partnership will support Fijian players to live, develop, and play professional rugby in Fiji and inspire a new generation of girls and boys across our region.”
“We are very grateful for the generous support of the Australian Government. Today’s signing is a real demonstration of Australia’s commitment to Fiji and rugby,” Fijian Drua CEO Mark Evans said.
“This generous funding allows us to sustain Fiji’s only professional sports franchise, the Fijian Drua, enabling us to participate in Super Rugby Pacific and Super W competitions.
“Since the Fijian Drua’s inception, we have fast become a real pathway for young Fijian women and men to pursue a professional career in their favourite sport (rugby) in Fiji itself, whereas previously they would have had to move ashore for these opportunities.
“The Drua are indebted to the Australian Government for helping make dreams come through for our players.
“Rugby is the sport of choice for the people of Fiji, and the Fijian teams have lit up Super Rugby Pacific and our Super W competition, creating new rivalries with Australian teams and captivating new and old rugby fans with their exciting approach to the game,” RA CEO Phil Waugh added.
“Rugby Australia looks forward to working with the Australian Government and our rugby partners across the Pacific over the next four years to continue bringing our region and people closer together through rugby,” he said.