Rugby Australia has continued the development of Rugby in the Pacific after formalising its partnership with the Solomon Islands.
The deal will see Australian sevens coach Chris Nay head over to the region to assist in their preparation for the Oceania Sevens, which serves as an Olympic qualifier for Paris, before they host November's Pacific Games in Honiara.
It is funded through Australia's PacificAus Sports Program, which builds on Australia's ongoing support for the Solomon Islands ahead of the Pacific Games. Nay's engagement to advise the Solomon Islands Sevens teams has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the country's Rugby Union Federation, the Australian Government, and Rugby Australia.
Nay is set to arrive in Honiara this week and will hold a multi-day training camp with SIRUF teams and coaches at the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sport.
"I am very excited to be working with SIRUF and their national Rugby Sevens program," he said in a statement.
"I can't wait to help unleash the talent of the Solomon Islands' Rugby players to bring some very exciting Rugby for the fans at the Pacific Games."
"This partnership marks an important milestone in the development of Solomon Islands Rugby, and we will surely see a very positive impact on the women's and men's teams," SIRUF President George Tema added.
Along with this, leading Sevens club Burraneer Rays, who took out the Dubai International Open sevens in December, spent a week in the region with the Solomon Islands national women’s team to assist with their preparations.
"The partnership between the Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation and Rugby Australia celebrates our shared passion for sport and demonstrates Australia’s commitment, through programs like PacificAus Sports, to sharing its sporting expertise with the Solomon Islands," Australian High Commissioner Rod Hilton said.
The deal comes after the Australian Government and RA reinforced its commitment to the Fijian Drua, announcing funding for both the Super Rugby Pacific and Super W teams for the next four years.
"This is an exciting Rugby partnership, and we are incredibly pleased to have been able to support the SIRUF through the engagement of Chris Nay, who is a well-credentialed and experienced coach," Rugby Australia's Pacific Partnerships Manager, Dan Millis believes.
"We wish the Solomon Islands all the best for their campaign at the Pacific Games."