THE two overseas referees officiating at the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s were completely blown away by the standard of rugby in the country.
Taku Otsuki of Japan, who has been officiating for the past 14 years, said this was his first ever trip to Fiji and he was enjoying every moment of it.
"Fijian sevens rugby is the top in the world and I am very happy to be a part of it," he said.
"Rugby here is different from that in Japan and I have learnt a lot here and even the referees here are very good."
The man from Nagoya said he would use the Marist 7s as a build-up to prepare for the Tokyo 7s tournament on the HSBC Sevens World Series.
"Tournaments on the Series are very fast paced and it's tough to keep up with players.
"But here in Fiji, for the first time I am refereeing more games in just one day because in Japan, we referee only three of four games in our day but here in Fiji, I am refereeing eight games in one day."
New Caledonian referee Matteiu Duparc is on his fourth visit to Fiji and he said rugby and competition has changed a lot since his first visit here.
"I was here in 2009 and every time I come, I see improvements and now I can see that these guys are more organised," he said.
"When it comes to sevens, Fiji is incredible and the game here is on a totally different level."
Fiji's top referee James Bolabiu is hosting the two referees and he said he would like for our local referees to go to other tier two nations to try to officiate.
"Part of our development work is to expose our referees to international competition because not all of them can go the Series," he said.