Petersfield Rugby Club is proud to have been selected to host a UK Fijis 7s tournament on 13th August 2016. The competition was set up in 2013 to bring Fijian’s serving in the military and their families together.
Family is very important to Fijians and rugby is a way of life, so gatherings around rugby games are very much in the national psyche and a big part of the community. In Fiji the families from neighbouring villages get together to meet and watch rugby; the families sit around the pitches to pray, have fun with the children and support the men playing rugby.
It was recognised that nothing like this existed in the UK for the many Fijians who serve in the military, so it was decided to set up a UK Fiji 7s Competition. This brings all serving members of the three services together to play a 7s competition in the same style as they would do back in Fiji. However, instead of coming from their villages the teams are drawn from different units, garrisons and military locations, some play for their particular units but others put together teams based on their provinces or church groups.
The whole day embraces the core values rugby; Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship whilst bringing together the Fijian celebration of sport and life in general whilst catching up with family and friends, some of whom haven’t met since joining the Services.
John Voss, co-organiser of the event alongside Alifereti Vanua, explained, “The aim of UK Fiji 7s is to expand this event to cover three different locations in the future to maximise getting the Fijian community together, but we have a long way to go still. For us, it is getting the seeds planted and letting it grow which we are doing well at present with the support of Clubs like Petersfield.”
Those familiar with Fijian rugby, and especially the 7s format, will not be surprised to learn that past events have proved to be a great festival of rugby that were thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended; controlled aggression and passion with superb rugby skills on the field balanced by a relaxed family atmosphere off the field. The organisers are hoping for a good turnout again this year - over 3,000 members of the Fijian community, players and spectators, have contributed to the event in past years.
The tournament is played using the normal 7s format, with Pool games being played out on two pitches to decide who goes through to three finals, Bowl, Plate and Cup. This year there are 20-teams scheduled to strut their stuff on the day.
If the pool games weren’t enough to showcase the studded talent and raw skills that make Fiji one of the leading 7s specialists in the world of rugby, the semis and finals take the passion and pace to another level.
Petersfield RFC Chairman, Stu Barden, was delighted that the Club had been given the honour of supporting this wonderful event. “As a Club we have always had a close connection with the Services, with many military folk playing for and supporting us over the years. We are always keen to forge closer links wherever we can and this is a marvellous opportunity for us to show our appreciation for not only great rugby, but the job that these guys do for the country.”
The clubhouse facilities will be open for the event and everyone is welcome to come down to support the event, whether by helping the PRFC #RugbyFamily give our Fijian friends a day to remember or simply to cheer on some great rugby.
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