MORE overseas teams are expected to compete in the women's competition in the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast 7s tournament this year.
Last year, 12 teams were part of the event and organisers have confirmed 16 teams will compete for the Crest Na Iri Trophy and $10,000 prizemoney at Lawaqa Park from November 13 to 15.
Goodman Fielder has once again pledged its support to the tournament and yesterday, its general manager Chris Zaayman handed over a cheque of $30,000 to tournament director Nick Jordan.
"We are proud to support the growth of women's rugby in Fiji and thrilled to see this expansion to 16 teams," he said.
"Next season is Olympic qualifying year and the Crest Na Iri Trophy will be a vital part of the development of the Olympic program for a number of teams."
Jordan said the tournament and sponsorship would contribute toward the development of the sport among women in the country.
"The expanded Crest Na Iri Trophy is a positive sign for women's rugby and a fantastic opportunity for local talent to shine ahead of the critical Olympic qualifying year," he said.
"The Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is the premier tournament for women in Fiji and the support of Crest will again showcase Fiji's best players to a global audience and continue the development of women's rugby in Fiji."
Defending champions, Telecom Fijiana and 2012 champions Aussie Pearls would be up against national teams of New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea while Australian clubs Sunnybank, Redlands, Highlanders, Sydney Fiji Ranadi and Pacific 2 Blues are confirmed and two more overseas teams have shown interest.
Local champion Marist Seahawks, Lautoka, Striders and Lady Babas are also in mix for the title and it was the Seahawks that lost 7-19 in the final last year.