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Fijian team to join NSWRL competition for 2020 season
The NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) has today announced an historic agreement with Fiji National Rugby League which will see Fiji field a team in a NSWRL competition next season in a move to significantly assist the development and growth of the game and provide a pathway for the country’s aspiring rugby league players.
The agreement was unveiled before the Prime Minister’s XIII match against Fiji at ANZ Stadium in Suva tonight, which was attended by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison; Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama; NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM, NSWRL General Manager - Football, Barrie-Jon Mather and Fijian-born rugby league legend Petero Civoniceva.
The team will be known as the Kaiviti Silktails (Kaiviti means someone from Fiji while the Silktails are a bird native to the country) and will play in the Ron Massey Cup next season with a view to eventually playing in the state’s premier competition, Canterbury Cup NSW.
The deal has been made possible by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) which has supported Fiji’s application and will provide a funding deal for the next four years and has also backed a move to play NRL pre-season trial matches in the Pacific for the next three years.
Dr Peponis announced "this is an historic and exciting day for both the NSWRL and Fiji National Rugby League.
“Fiji has provided our game with plenty of exciting players over the decades and it’s a wonderful initiative to now have a direct pathway to help them pursue a rugby league career.
“I’d like to thank the DFAT for all their support and I can’t wait to see the Kaiviti Silktails in action in 2020.”
Civoniceva, who also represented Australia and Queensland, and who has been a driving force behind the bid, added "it’s been about six years in the making but something of this nature was always going to take time.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have a good support network of people behind this push.
“I’m very grateful to the NSWRL to give us an opportunity to present our case and today’s launch in Suva with both of our Prime Ministers present is a huge bonus.
“This will be a wonderful pathway to help local talent chase their dream of playing professional rugby league.”
Image: Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama at tonight's Prime Minister’s XIII match against Fiji at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
7th August 2019 - NSWRL All Schools Carnival celebrates 75th Anniversary
27th May 2019 - NSWRL claims rise in rugby league participation
6th February 2019 - Opening of NSWRL Centre of Excellence hailed as a ‘game-changer’
18th January 2019 - Australian Government supports rugby league development in Fiji
17th January 2019 - NSWRL steps in following collapse of Western Suburbs junior district
28th November 2018 - NSWRL named Organisation of the Year at NSW Sports Awards
20th September 2018 - NRL advises of rise in rugby league participation through 2018
5th September 2018 - Uncertain future for rugby league’s expansion plans in the USA
27th March 2018 - Strategic Plan launched to guide the future of rugby league
24th June 2016 - Fiji ready to host first ever Super Rugby fixture
26th June 2015 - Sport at the heart of Australian ‘soft diplomacy’
14th August 2014 - NRL launches Pacific Islands strategy
12th January 2014 - IRB suspends funding for Fijian rugby
15th March 2012 - Fiji National Stadium to get facelift
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