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Fiji Time: 3:12 PM on Sunday 20 April

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Thrills and spills

By Rashneel Kumar
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

IT was all about the oval ball this year, literally, as rugby in both codes made headlines in the local and international sporting arena.

From the appointment of Ben Ryan as the new Fiji 7s coach to the flamboyance of the Vodafone Fiji Bati at the Rugby League World Cup, the nation made rugby cries of anguish and joy this season.

Times Sport takes a look at the major sporting events that took Fijians by storm, here they are:

RUGBY UNION

Rugby House

Fiji rugby celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. The year started with a major reshuffle in the Rugby House.

Doctor Esther Williams, Daniel Whippy, Filimoni Vatuvoka, Mosese Taga, Dr Berlin Kafoa and Baljeet Singh were elected to the FRU board.

Filimone Waqabaca became the new chairman of the union replacing Mosese Tikoitoga.

Dr Kafoa is the acting chief executive officer following the dismissal of Manasa Baravilala.

John McKee became the new High Performance Unit manager following the resignation of Mike Ryan.

National teams

* The Flying Fijians won its first-ever Pacific Nations Cup title while the Fiji Warriors retained the Pacific Rugby Cup.

* In 7s, Ryan replaced Alifereti Dere as the coach of the national side and guided the team to it's first-ever Dubai 7s win.

* Maestro Waisale Serevi became the first Fijian to be inducted in the International Ruby Board Hall of Fame for his contribution to 7s rugby.

* The Timoci Wainiqolo-coached Fijiana finished runner-up in the Oceania Women's 7s after beating champions New Zealand in the semis.

* Fiji under-18 created history after beating New Zealand Schoolboys 22-20 in the Tri Series in Australia.

Provincial tournaments

* Nadroga made a clean sweep this year winning the Digicel Cup competition and the prestigious Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy.

* In 7s, Yamacia shocked the nation after winning the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast 7s which also had international teams playing.

* Westfield Babas won the Marist 7s tournament.

Secondary School

* Ratu Navula won the Deans Trophy after beating Queen Victoria School 19-16 in a nail-biting final.

RUGBY LEAGUE

The Petero Civoniceva-skippered side equalled the performance of the 2008 RLWC after qualifying for the semi-finals.

Following the world cup success, Vodafone signed a new deal with Fiji National Rugby League for a record $4million over the next four years.

In the domestic competition, the Sigatoka Electric Sabeto Roosters was crowned the 2013 Vodafone Cup champions while Nasinu won the secondary school competition.

FOOTBALL

* Nadi stopped Ba from making a clean sweep after beating the Men in Black in the Vodafone Fiji FACT final.

* Ba won the Inkk Battle of the Giants, Courts Inter-District Championship and 2012/13 Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League.

* Fiji Football Association, despite hitting its all time low ranking, managed a major five-year sponsor deal worth $5million from Vodafone and CJ Patel Pacific.

NETBALL

* Fiji Pearls retained the Pacific Netball Series title in Suva.

* The Unaisi Rokoura-coached side however lost to Malawi in the two Test series at the Vodafone Arena.

ATHLETICS

* Banuve Tabakaucoro cemented his status as the Pacific sprint king, winning the 100 metres and 200m dash with a record time in Wallis and Futuna.

* Marist retained the Coca-Cola Games boy's title while Jasper Williams High School broke Adi Cakobau School's 12-year reign to become the new girl's champions.

HOCKEY

* The Fiji men's High Performance side defeated the visiting Australian Country in the three-match series.

* Fiji also made its World League Hockey debut in India this year.

OTHER

* The Fiji Government gave more than $10million to help with sports development through the Fiji National Sports Commission.