Super W win to aid rugby growth

Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua winger Vitalina Naikore goes in to score a try against the NSW Waratahs in the Super W competition. Picture: AAP

The chairwoman of Australia’s sports diplomacy advisory council says the achievement of the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua in winning the Super W rugby title has set a platform for women’s rugby in Fiji to grow.

Stephanie Brantz, who is an Australian TV sports reporter events presenter, producer and commentator spoke highly of the Fijiana Drua’s achievement during a Getting into Rugby (GiR) and Rugby Plus program at the Latter-day Saints College in Tamavua, Suva last Friday.

“The Fijiana Drua has become everyone’s favourite team,” she said.

“While in Australia no one quite knew what to expect and they came out winners, beating our teams as they played with such joy, happiness and skills that everyone was so excited about.

“Now I know all the girls in Fiji would want to play rugby which is going to be sad for other sports, but they have been so incredible.

“These girls are now super stars and it really gives the girls the energy to think that they can do it also.”

She said women’s sports participation in the world had grown over the years.

“It has been really interesting to see women development in sports because 20 years ago you couldn’t make a career out of being a female athlete,” Brantz said.

“You play while in school, maybe and a little bit when you went to university, but now there is a real pathway for women to be able to compete not just professionally but also a pathway to other things like administration or officiating.

“All these roles have really opened up for women and I think it helps with self-esteem, but of course with physical health, mental well-being and of course respect within the communities.

“We are seeing women gaining that respect around the world; it’s really helping gender equality.”

She said the Vuvale partnership between Australia and Fiji had set a strong bond between the two countries in terms of sports development.

“We have a very strong relationship about our partner with Fiji as that it commits both ways.

“As Australians we learn so much from you beautiful people and what you bring to life, and the from us we can help with sometimes financial support and expertise.

“The way that we can work together and improve on everybody’s methods and the progress in both countries is very important to Australia.”

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