The Fiji Times

Taylor hails 7s tourney


MORE tournament­s such as the Fiji Airways Mini Internatio­nal Women’s Tournament held over the weekend at Albert Park should take place, Australia women’s 7s head coach Reg Taylor says.

The Australia side has been in the country for the past two weeks and competed at the tournament alongside Fiji, New Zealand, and France.

“This is probably the first time there is a mini tournament like this, and I think we should have more tournament­s like this because it benefits all teams taking part,” he said.

“It allows teams to come here and put their players to the test against top teams and gauge our performanc­es.”

During the two-day tournament, Taylor said his players had been able to point out areas they needed to work on as they prepare for the World Rugby Series next year.

“It’s just awesome coming here and playing against some of the best teams in the world, because it allowed us to point out our weaknesses and areas we need to work on.

“Playing against teams like New Zealand and Fiji has been very exciting and educationa­l.”

Competing with a young squad, Taylor said he was happy with the way his team performed and praised them for their efforts.

“They did very well though they recorded a few losses.

“But this tournament is all about developmen­t, and we had a lot of that here.”

The second leg of the tournament is scheduled to be held at Churchill Park in Lautoka next weekend.

“We are excited for the next leg of the tournament, and we will just be going over areas we need to improve before this weekend.”

THE Annual National Provincial Girls 7s competitio­n kicked off in Albert Park, Suva yesterday after a lapse of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 32 teams registered for the under- 17 and U19 grades.

The annual event was organised by the Fiji Rugby Union and funded by the UN Women Pacific with the theme — “Violence against women and girls is not in our game plan”.

Fiji Rugby Union women’s developmen­t manager Vela Naucukidi said the event was scheduled to take place last year.

“Just because of COVID-19, it was postponed, so we shifted the competitio­n to this year, “she said.

“UN Women Pacific has been sponsoring the competitio­n.

“In the past we had three grades U15, U17 and U19.

“And for this year only two grades are taking part which is the U17 and U19.”

Naucukidi said the competitio­n was initiated to assist the local rugby unions in their recruitmen­t. “So, the unions can recruit women into their provincial competitio­n and player base.

“That was the whole purpose apart from trying to expand and increase the numbers.

“That was one of the reasons why we did the NPC rather than having a secondary school girls’ tournament was just to help the unions to recruit players.

“As the women’s developmen­t manager, I’m so grateful that I have a team behind me that actually organised this tournament because I was away in Japan and arrived on Wednesday.

“We actually started planning before I left, but then while I was away, they continued on with organising the number of teams that had come through the last minute just to get them to participat­e today.

“I’m overwhelme­d with the commitment of the teachers who are here.

“And to the parents, you know first of all it’s hard for the parents to allow the players to come and participat­e in rugby but to see some of the parents here actually supporting the girls.

“You don’t see that a few years back, but now we are actually changing the mindset, and changing behaviours.

“So, the parents are actually supporting their daughters to come and play and the pathway we have set up within rugby union has actually increased the numbers of women in rugby.”

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 ?? Picture: FILE ?? Vela Naucukidi.
Picture: FILE Vela Naucukidi.

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