Fiji Rugby and its major partners CJ Patel launched the nations marquee provincial rugby competition the 2019 Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship at Albert Park today.
Fiji Rugby Chief Executive Officer John O’Connor thanked CJ Patel Group of Companies for their continuous support of the stalwart Skipper Cup, a breeding ground for champions of Fiji.
“I would like to thank CJ Patel Group for being by Fiji Rugby’s side when it comes to a competition that is the pinnacle for Domestic rugby in this country.
We know all teams playing in this competition play to represent their province with pride and set the example for young players to strive to reach this level.”
“CJ Patel Group of Companies contribute over $500,000 towards the operation of the Skipper Cup. A significant investment that includes Club grants, playing kit provisions and ball supply.”
Mr O’Connor said each Union will receive a grant of $50,000 for their Senior and Under-19 teams.
“Part of the grant will be utilized by Fiji Rugby to contract Head Coaches, S&C coaches, Medical Officers, Team Managers and the 25 athletes in the playing squad.”
Mr O’Connor said 2019 is another milestone year for the competition as the local players will compete through-out the season for a place in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad for the World Cup in Japan as well as the Fiji Airways Fijians Drua squad.
The Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship features both a Senior and Under-19s division. The Fiji Rugby Women’s Championship will feature as a Curtain Raiser to the senior men’s and for 2019 will expand to 15 a side from the 10 a side that played in 2018.
The eight Unions participating in the Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship are Nadroga, Namosi, Naitasiri, Suva, Rewa, Nadi and the newly promoted Tailevu and Northland.
O’Connor said the two teams finishing at the bottom of table will be demoted to the Vodafone Vanua Cup Challenge, hence the championship provides a battleground week in and week for the players to enjoy the game they love and play their best rugby.
The Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship will again be played out around the regions where parochial fans can show their colours with pride from the bus trippers of Naitasiri to the fiercely loyal Nadroga natives.
“The Skipper Cup unites the nation as its accessible for fans with high class rugby available in all the regions. Where people can truly stand proud for their local heroes and teams.”
The Senior mens winner in the 2019 Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship will be awarded $30,000 with the runner up to be awarded $15,000.
The winner of the Under-19s competition will be awarded $5,000 and the runner up prize of $2,000
The Skipper Fiji Rugby Championship kicks off on Friday 12th April with Naitasiri taking on Namosi at Ratu Cakobau Park with the finals scheduled for 22nd June this year.