Fiji 7s bid challenge

MEMBERS of the Fiji for 7s task force team has a lot in their hands as they begin their tender bid process to meet World Rugby requirements in hosting a tournament in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Fiji.

Greg Peters of Forefront Sports and Media, along with Fiji Rugby Union general manager commercial, Brian Thorburn, are working round-the-clock to get everything ready by the end of next month.

Peters said a lot of work was needed to be done.

“We have 18 countries, ten of which are existing tournament hosts and our bid is starting at ground zero and building up as the other 10 are the least and probably starting from a base where they have the facilities to host a major event. They have more infrastructure to host events,” he said.

“We have to prove to World Rugby that we have credible bid in all those areas and we’re approaching that from the basis of living no stone unturned to give them no excuse to say no. They have to come here because we have put forward such an appealing bid.

“Now there is a massive challenge in that and World Rugby’s criteria for selection are the most prominent criteria is the player’s welfare. This means that we have to have world-class facilities in both training and playing. Medical facilities and everything else that is wrapped around regarding a player’s welfare should be in place.

“For anyone that is to involve with rugby now, player welfare issue is probably the top of everyone’s mind, not only from injuries, but how players travel, how they arrive, how they are looked after when they are here.

“The commute relevance of the tournament is the next criteria and that is how the tournament in Fiji will relate to HSBC. It has a story to tell by being associated with the tournament and natural and spiritual home of 7s and the home of the Olympics gold medal which are very good stories.

“The major market and the economic health market, the sponsorship market are all relevant as well. Obviously the biggest challenge for us is the hosting ability in terms of proof that we don’t have the benefit of having hosted big events previously like world cups or under-20 tournaments, but we do have probably the world’s most hosted number of 7s tournaments.

“That equips the ability to host the 7s experience and the infrastructure needs, stadium, transport logistics all these things that we need as we got a big job ahead of us to work out before February 28.

“The next criteria is rugby and we can tick the box because the Olympics medal and number 10 in fifteens, so the relevance of rugby in the country is easy to explain.

“Scheduling of the tournament is another criteria when we play and obviously in Fiji the fact is the heavy rainfall in certain months of the year and the last thing that we want is the series to be interrupted by a massive thunderstorm six o’clock in the finals’ night so we have to fact that in when we approaching the window.

“The rugby administration side is the organisation structure that we will put in place. The fantastic thing is to make a successful 7s tournament. You have to have a large number of volunteers and you bring the rugby people with the tournament that excites the people by getting them involved in a tournament through volunteer-based.

“With the Marist 7s, Fiji Coral Coast Sevens and Nawaka 7s, we’ve got that base. We just need to get the people to understand what it is to host and know the insignificance and train them to know the requirement of world rugby.”

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