HON PM VOREQE BAINIMARAMA REMARKS AT THE AFTER MATCH FUNCTION FOR THE CRUSADERS AND CHIEFS

Honourable Ministers

Management, Head Coaches and Members of the Gallagher Chiefs and the BNZ Crusaders teams

Ticket Direct CEO, Mathew Davey

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula Vinaka. Good evening everyone and welcome.

This is a time for celebration after such a big sport event for Fiji, and no one wants to hear long speeches, so I will keep this short. But I must take some time—on behalf of all Fijians– to welcome all of our international visitors to Fiji and say “vinaka vakalevu” to both the Crusaders and Chiefs teams for such a superb display of rugby.

We are very proud to have hosted Round 15 of Super Rugby and the clash between these two impressive teams, and we couldn’t have asked for a better show. Congratulations to the Chiefs on the big win, and to both teams for a hard-fought match that shows how competition among elite athletes raises the quality of the sport every day.

Fiji is now only one of eight nations to have hosted this competition and the first small island State to ever do so, joining Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Singapore and the UK. This for us in the Pacific is a major feat.

We are a people who love sport. We love competition, we love athleticism, and we have a deep respect for the dedication, discipline and sacrifice it takes to be a world-class athlete. Rugby, in particular, is a major part of Fijian life and, indeed, our psyche. It is an important source of national unity which is what makes hosting this game a point of national pride.

And that is why ladies and gentlemen, we want to host another game of Super Rugby next year. Yes, we want Super Rugby again and we will make it our business to bring it back to Fiji. We have the facilities. We have the capacity. And most importantly, we have the passion for rugby.

I would like to thank the members of the rugby community and all the people behind the scenes for their invaluable support in bringing this event here—and particularly, for the faith they have shown in the Fijian Government and the Fijian people.
I would also like to thank all the Fijians who turned up to the game and those who are here tonight. I know that I speak on your behalf when I say that we look forward to more international club and national games being played on our home turf. No doubt, the Chiefs and the Crusaders were the perfect teams to give us live experience of Super Rugby.

It’s been a pleasure hosting our visitors. You have not only provided inspiration to thousands of would-be-rugby stars but you have given us all a lot of joy and happiness. We are modernising our laws and our infrastructure and we Fijians, have a renewed sense of confidence and vitality. We have etched a new place for ourselves on the global stage. And your presence has provided further inspiration and drive. We look forward to winning our first Olympic gold, of course in rugby, by beating the All Blacks in the finals!

We also look forward to seeing you and your supporters back again. Not just to play rugby but also as visitors to enjoy the reknown Fijian hospitality and our pristine environment.
Once again, it’s been a pleasure hosting you and please enjoy yourselves tonight.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.