Field of dreams

The proposed new look Prince Charles Park in Nadi come year 2020. Picture: Supplied

The proposed new look Prince Charles Park in Nadi come year 2020. Picture: Supplied

“We have the players, we have the fans and we have the ability to stage international events. My Government is fully committed to making this happen. Now it is time for the sevens to return to its spiritual home to allow our people to see our players on home turf, playing the best in the world.”

These inspiring words from our honourable PM have instilled belief in thousands that yes Fiji can host a WRSS tournament. Rugby 7s may have originated in Scotland but for Fijians it’s just not a game but part of our religion. Commentators have described Fiji as a religious nation because they know the essence of 7s as a unifying factor – one that brings everyone together regardless of gender, age, colour or race.

I was delighted to see the artist’s impression of Prince Charles Park come 2020 and I salute the vision of the stakeholders in ensuring that they would pull out all stops to do whatever is required to build the infrastructure to host the event.

For too long we have seen our boys play offshore. For too long we have cheered our boys in front of TV screens. For too long we have missed out on jubilant scenes, emotions and the excitement when our boys hoist the cup and are presented with the gold medals. For too long we have waited at the airport for our players to return with the cup and medals. These may be a ‘blast from the past’ as FRU and the Government works to take its place on the HSBC WRSS circuit.

FRU expects an overall economic benefit of $50m per annum if Fiji wins the bid to host a leg of the HSBC WRSS tournament. I say, let’s come as a nation and take the benefits! There will be an added cost but the benefits will be enormous.

Our PM and FRU will need all the assistance and support and I guess every ardent fan should be ready to stand in when the need arises.

Now is the time to put political differences aside and work for the betterment of 7s. I wish our stakeholders all the best in fulfilling the ‘Field of dreams’.

As I conclude, I congratulate those who were rewarded at the FRU Awards night. My gratitude to FRU for rewarding our outstanding and courageous Fiji Airways Drua warrior Voka, the off-load King of 7s Nasoko, former 7s player and coach Dere and the Stallions for a wonderful year of rugby.