World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont Monday officially opened the Fijian Drua’s home base.
The opening was done in the presence of Fijian Government leaders, World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin, stakeholders, sponsors, staff and Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players. Located on Voivoi Road, Legalega Industrial Area in Nadi, the Fijian Drua Home Base will house high performance and recreational facilities for athletes and team management, as well as cater for offices for the coaches, medical, analysis and welfare staff.
The Club’s CEO, administration, commercial and operations teams will also be based at the Drua Home Base.
Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn said: “We needed a home base to launch the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua’s future Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific campaigns and this facility has what we need to do that.”
“We faced many challenges during our covid-impacted inaugural season this year. We had to use Lennox Head in New South Wales, Australia as a temporary home base, and had to evacuate from there twice due to flooding. While Lennox Head was great for us, we’re delighted to finally be able to put roots down right here in Nadi and truly stay, train and play at home.”
The total investment of the facility set-up is around FJ$2 million (US$1 million), with investments largely thanks to the Club’s sponsors and stakeholders. Major sponsor Swire Shipping brought three container loads of set-up equipment, including state-of-the-art gym equipment and an Enforcer scrum machine.
Fellow sponsors Vinod Patel Home & Living fitted out the facility with office equipment and recreational facilities for players. The entire facility has been customised for top level connectivity, by technology giants VT Solutions and Vodafone Fiji. Signage partners Mogul installed large murals and artwork which now adorn the facilities massive gymnasium space. This includes a huge Fijian flag measuring over seven metres in length and three metres in height on a feature wall.
Thorburn added: “We wouldn’t have been able to lease this facility and customise it to our requirements without the help and support of our partners, sponsors, and shareholders. Their investment speaks volumes to their belief and commitment to our young Club, and it’s exciting that we’ll be able to showcase their products and services in our Home Base. We are also grateful for the support and guidance of the Fijian Drua Board, whose leadership and foresight enabled us to give our players the resources they need.”
While officiating at the opening, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “On behalf of World Rugby we are absolutely delighted to be a contributing factor to the Fijian Drua team. I think it is important for us at World Rugby to come out and see, admire and respect Fijian Rugby. You bring so much to the table, whether it is 15s men, women, or sevens, you are everybody’s second favourite team and everybody else seems to support Fiji. “
“The help that you received from all your sponsors and everybody involved will enable your players to stay on the island and train here, while playing in the top competition. It is a true partnership and what I can see is that because of this, Fijian Rugby will continue to go strength to strength, and this will not only improve the Drua, but also improve the national team as well.”
Thorburn added: “Our set up is designed to be flexible while allowing the staff to prepare our current and future athletes for the rigours of Super Rugby. Being located so close to Nadi International Airport and a short drive away from both Churchill Park and Prince Charles Park is logistically very convenient. “
“About 65 to 70 percent of the staff and playing group are moving to Nadi, giving the town a significant economic boost. We will be hiring facilities, renting equipment, consuming goods, and services, which will add considerable benefits to the surrounding areas and town.” The Fijian Drua will kick-off its official pre-season from the new facility on October 12.