The Fijian Rugby Union have announced they are seeking private investment to support the fielding of a Super Rugby team in 2022.
The Pacific island nation have been given the go-ahead to field a team in the Super Rugby competition next year by New Zealand rugby, provided that they meet a range of conditions.
The CEO of the FRU John O’Connor, announced the next step in the rugby union’s business plan on their official website, explaining the goals the team known as the Fijian Drua would have on entry to the competition.
Major Announcement📢!!!! Super Rugby could be on our way.
Read ⬇️⬇️⬇️ to find out more.https://t.co/qSqkFlYeGl
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) February 24, 2021
“The prospect of the Fijian Drua playing in Super Rugby will be a dream come true, if we can meet the financial hurdles needed to sustain such a team,” O’Connor said.
“Having the resources to offer competitive playing contracts to not only bring our best players home, but to keep our best local talent in Fiji is our key objective.
“We want to field a team that is capable of reaching the Finals in its’ first year and winning the competition within 5 years.”
Several Super Rugby matches between New Zealand teams have been played in the Fijian capital of Suva, since the Crusaders and Chiefs first played there in 2016 in front of a sold-out crowd.
The Fijian Drua would be guaranteed at least six home games each year in Super Rugby, which as of 2021, consists of five New Zealand teams and five Australian teams.
“The Super rugby games held in Fiji in recent years show the passion of our fans and support for Super Rugby, and with a Fijian team representing our country, we are very confident that the local Fijians will turn out to passionately support the Drua,” O’Connor commented.
Need for private investment.
Financial issues remain the biggest challenge to Fiji’s participation in Super Rugby, although the country were able to successfully fund a team in the Australian National Rugby Championship in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
O’Connor noted that the team would need private investment to survive, but was confident that the side would be able to attract investors abroad in New Zealand, Australia and at home.
“Private capital is a fact of life for sporting teams and franchises around the world, and we are embracing it, at the same time making sure that Fiji Rugby has an appropriate say in policy and key decisions around the team,” O’Connor said.
“We intend to seek NZ$10 million in capital and we’re confident that our proposal will attract strong interest from Investors in Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
Ideally, we’d like Fijian investors also, but we’re looking for either a single investor, or at most 3 or 4 entities to back our team.”