BY IRWIN ANGIKI
This year is set for another entertaining year of rugby, with a lot of prizes on offer for hardworking players, teams and officials.
The Honiara Rugby Union Association (HRUA) and SolRice have again partnered to ensure this, signing the sponsorship deal yesterday.
HRUA President Brian Taupiri said covid-19’s community transmission since January had stalled preparations, however, with government’s successful addressing of the pandemic and with borders reopening in July, things are in the clear to kick off in July.
SolRice continues on its third consecutive year as the major sponsor of Honiara’s annual rugby union league, this year’s event dubbed the ‘SolRice Grand Premier Rugby Competition’.
Fifty thousand dollars is up for the taking as this year’s first prize. Second gets $35,000. Third $25,000, and fourth $15,000.
But that’s not all!
There’s a total $20,000-worth of 10 consolation prizes to reward individual players for their brilliance, as well as teams and officials.
Most improved team – $5,000; Fairest team – $5,000; Coach of the year – $2,000; Team manager of the year – $2,000; Captain of the year – $1,000; Rookie of the year – $1,000; Most improved player – $1,000; Forward player of the year – $1,000; Backline player of the year – $1,000; and the Player of the year – $1,000.
Then there’s the popular Man of the Match award. Recipients this year will not only get a 40lb bag of SolRice, but a shirt as well – a memorabilia.
But, a change from last year, this year’s man of the match awards will only be applied in play-off games.
Mr Taupiri says consolation prize winners will be merited according to their sportsmanship and playing performance. He explains that HRUA criteria promotes discipline as much as it highlights team/ player rugby skills and on-field performance.
“It’s not all about a player or team scoring the most points per game or the season throughout,” Taupiri said.
“How you conduct yourself and display discipline will be noted. This goes for teams, individual players and team officials.”
On that note, President Taupiri acknowledges all teams and players, saying that last year’s successful competition recorded the lowest number of yellow and red cards.
This he says reflects the increasing level of competitive rugby in the country, especially in Honiara where most of the talents are scouted for international matches.
Taupiri wishes all teams the best in preparations for the three-month competition.
Games will be played at the home of rugby – SIRUF Townground Rugby Stadium.