Fiji Match Official boosted by International Experience

Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou with course participants. Photo: SUPPLIED.

20 Local Fijian Match Officials are participating in a World Rugby 7’s Level 1 and Level 2 Match Officials Course this week ahead of the 2017 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships.

The course commenced today (Monday 6 November) with a welcome from Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou Minister for Youth and Sports. The Minister thanked Oceania Rugby and Fiji Rugby Officials, facilitators and Match officials for inviting him to the session this morning, noting that a major work for the Fiji Government now is partnerships and sustainability. He further added,

“In regards to partnerships we are lucky to be working with Oceania Rugby. We see the growth of the Government support in Rugby within the Fiji Rugby Union. These results speak for themselves and are a result of the sustainability of the Match Officials and good governance (through administrators and match officials).”

The Minister also noted that the Fiji Government is working with the Fiji Rugby Union towards hosting a HBCS’s Sevens World Series here in Fiji and the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships is the first step towards this. Courses like this week’s course not only supports this effort but also provides opportunities to further develop Rugby in Fiji.

The course is funded through the support of the Fiji Government and Oceania Rugby in conjunction with the Fiji Rugby Union in the interests of capacity building of local referees. The participants are all current provincial referees, who are to undergo formal training through the World Rugby Level 1 and Level 2 Match Officiating Sevens courses. The course not only includes technical aspects but also works through mental preparations, stress and anxiety that are particular to the Sevens program. On Thursday the course attendees will be joined by the international Match Officials who have come into Suva for the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships for further preparations ahead of assisting at the tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Talemo Waqa, Regional Training Manager, Oceania Rugby noted to the attendees,

“The same course was delivered ahead of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships last year and we are seeing the direct results this year with Mere Ulunaceva (FRU), Avi’I Fa’alupega (Samoa) and Augustine Mafuara (SIRFU) who completed the course in 2016 being appointed as a Match Officials for the 2017 Tournament.”

Mr Waqa further added that this course is the first step to having more International Match Officials coming out of Fiji and following in the steps of Tevita Rokovereni.

In addition to the course local Match Official Managers and Educators will also observe and shadow the Oceania Rugby Match Official Managers Michael Tanzer and Lyndon McKendry for further capacity building.

Match Official Appointments for 2017 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships.

Match Officials:

  • Dru Tonks (Australia)
  • Tyler Miller (Australia)
  • Tevita Rokovereni (Fiji)
  • Mere Ulunaceva (Fiji)
  • Sakurako Kawasaki (Japan)
  • Matt Rodden (Hong Kong)
  • Michael Winter (New Zealand)
  • Lauren Jenner (New Zealand)
  • Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
  • Isamaeli Posi (Samoa)
  • Avi’I Fa’alupega (Samoa)
  • Augustine Mafuara (Solomon Islands)
  • Filimoni Siueni (Tonga)

Assistant Match Officials:

  • Kaveni Talemaivalagi (Fiji)
  • Usa Bainivalu (Fiji)
  • Josaia Caucau (Fiji)
  • Tevita Vosalevu (Fiji)
  • Simeli Loga (Fiji)
  • Epeli Nagase (Fiji)
  • Josaia Vatavitavi (Fiji)
  • Sireli Matavesi (Fiji)
  • Aporosa Bole (Fiji)
  • George Fonmoa (Fiji)