By Taromane Martin
THE Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF) will look to provide more opportunities for young rugby players to study and play rugby overseas this year.
This was highlighted by SIRUF President Frank Wickham as he highlights the federation’s plan outline for 2019.
Wickham said this year the federation will send young players to Queensland and to the French academy in New Caledonia and Fiji.
“These opportunities were made possible through networks created by former SIRUF mentor Wallabies and Fijian great Illivasi Tabua whose contract with SIRUF expired last month.
“Ilivasi has also been strongly involved in linking the Solomon Islands descendants in Fiji to come back home and he went with them to West Kwaio in Malaita Province, and that’s been his special programme. He was, like for us, getting the network thing going.
“Next year we are going to build on the networks he started for us.
“We are going to send young boys now to Queensland and to the French academy in New Caledonia and also linking more strongly with Fiji.
“Also there will be a new SIRUF executive next year, some of us our time will lapse and a new executive will select the CEO and at the same time, we will continue with Mocelutu, our development manager and development officer Augustine and we will continue to find some more people to continue the role that Ilivasi has played.
“Regarding the Soltuna 7s we started last year in Fiji, next year we are looking at Vanuatu for the Soltuna 7s and next will be Bougainville.
“And if he’s (Illivasi) available we’d like him to continue with what he has built for us,” the President said.
Illivasi Tabua was part of the Australian Volunteers International (AVI) organisation.
Last year he was appointed Head Coach for the Solomon Islands national U18 rugby 7s squad that competed in the Oceania 7s competition in Fiji.
Wickham said some of their plans for 2019 will also see an election for the new executive members, appointment of a new CEO as well the hosting of the second edition of the SolTuna 7s competition.