The National Provincial Championship Tournament, now presented as the ?Skipper Cup? was launched in Suva this morning.
With a total of 12 participating local rugby unions and 69 games in total, this year?s event kicks off on Friday at Ratu Cakobau Park between Tailevu and Lautoka.
Sponsored by CJ Patel Group, one of 5 partners in the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) Consortium Sponsorship Program, the prize money this year is said to be the highest value given the 51 year history of this provincial rugby event.
?The total value of the prize schedule this year is over $110 thousand dollars, a 200 percent increase from the prize value last year,? said Dr Berlin Kafoa, the Acting CEO of Chairman of FRU?s Marketing Committee.
He said the winning senior team will receive an extra $13 thousand dollars this year, the Senior Runner Up team and the team that finishes top of the table will take home more than $10 thousand dollars.
In the Under 20 grade, the winner takes more $8 thousand dollars more while the runner up takes home $4 thousand dollars more.
An added feature this year is the 9 extra prize categories including a Fans Zone with a total value of $30k up for grabs. This includes the awarding of a ?player of the match? for each game in the tournament.
Director Marketing for the CJ Patel Group Mr Nathan Hildebrand said that Skipper Tuna is extremely excited to be a part of the 2014 NPC ? now the Skipper Cup.
?Provincial Rugby has always been fiercely competitive and aggressively contested and we have no doubt that the 2014 competition will be no different,? he told local union representatives and members of the media present.
He said:? ?As was announced at the launch of the partnership, one of the key initiatives of the sponsorship was to ensure the continual development of Fiji Rugby.
?The Skipper Cup is crucial in this development process ? by providing a regular, highly-competitive, and eagerly contested competition for Provincial teams to test their abilities, hone their skills and continually improve.
?Similarly the Skipper Cup is an ideal platform for the match officials, team management and coaches to also develop and improve,? he added.
?But most importantly ? the Skipper Cup is where the fans can get behind their province and support their team.
?And that is what we are most excited about. This year we plan to do more with the fans at more of the games and details on this will be revealed during the season,?
Officiating today the Minister for Youth and Sports Commodore Viliame Naupoto, who also presented the Team Kits alongside Mr Hildebrand said he was looking forward to three months of grueling rugby competition.
Nadroga were the winners in this similar series last year.
SOURCE: MEDIA RELEASE