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Fiji Airways Gives Fiji Rugby 7s Wings

By Shane Hussein Posted 24 Mar 2014

Fiji Airways, this week, showcased their support for Fiji’s national 7s rugby side after Fiji Rugby revealed that the nation’s official airline signed a 5-year sponsorship deal.

The deal means that Fiji’s national 7s team will wear the eye-catching Fiji Airways jerseys at the IRB World Sevens Series tournaments in Hong Kong, the Gold Coast (Australia) and Wellington (New Zealand).

“We see our partnership with consortium members in Fiji Rugby as in investment in Fiji itself,” said Stefan Pichler, CEO of Fiji Airways.

“We will be able to leverage one of Fiji’s greatest assets, our rugby players – for the benefit of Fijian tourism.”
Mr Pichler added, “We plan to use this partnership in our marketing and PR efforts to boost our profile in key tourism source markets like Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.”

Fiji Rugby was equally proud of the partnership with Fiji rugby 7s coach, Ben Ryan stating, “The team are all very excited about the strength of the partnerships going forward and adding extra power behind everything we do."

L-R: Benito Masilevu (Fiji 7s player), Ronika Gosai (Fiji Airways), Stefan Pichler (Fiji Airways CEO), Salma Sahu Khan (Fiji Airways), Manasa Saulo (Fiji 15s player)

Currently sitting in third position overall on the IRB World Sevens Series ladder, the Fijian team is riding high after an impressive victory over South Africa in last weekend’s Final in Japan. Fiji are now poised to strike down pack leaders, New Zealand and South Africa, in the upcoming seventh round - scheduled to kick-off in Hong Kong on 26th March.

Given Fiji’s illustrious record in the Chinese trading city, it is little wonder that the Hong Kong 7s is considered one of the premier sporting events on the Fijian calendar.
Indeed, the tropical island nation has taken the Hong Kong trophy home three times in the last five years; and in 2014, all Fijian nationals are excited to see if the ‘Fiji Airways Flying Fijians’ can successfully defend the title in Hong Kong for the second year in a row.


Crosses over for another try for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians

For Fiji’s official airline, Mr Pichler proudly declared that Fiji Airways’ workers were die-hard supporters of the Fijian rugby team.

"They run - we fly. But when they play for our country, they have wings."

If you are lucky enough to be in Fiji during the Hong Kong 7s tournament, be prepared to see the Fijian flag flying everywhere from cars, to offices and homes. Just like the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the tournament is considered an unofficial national holiday in Fiji. Businesses throw staff parties, children memorise the names of players, and a general patriotism swells on the eve of the event.

To illustrate Fiji’s insatiable love of the rugby 7s tournament, before the days of national television coverage and satellite TV, some rural villagers dragged large television sets and generators up the majestic peaks of Fiji’s interior mountains in order to capture a better television signal.  

Indeed, the stunning tribal village of Navala (pictured below), located in the interior of Ba Province, is just one of the many villages that used to climb mountains just to watch the Hong Kong 7s and cheer on the Fiji team.

Source: Fiji Airways

Fiji Rugby Trivia:

Did you know that Benito Masilevu is the second-highest try scorer in the 2014 IRB World Sevens Series? He is second only to fellow Fijian, Samisoni Viriviri.

How will you be showing your support for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians this March?

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