$14.2M Pacific-Aus partnership a dream come true for assistant coach Filoi Eneliko

Thu, Feb 29, 2024, 10:21 PM
by Brumbies.rugby

Safeguard Global Brumbies assistant coach Filoi Eneliko paved her own way to Super Rugby Women's but now she is delighted that the pathway is becoming more visible to women from the Pacific.

Rugby Australia has announced a $14.2 million Australian-Pacific Rugby Union Partnership (APRUP) with the Australian Government. Fully-funded through the Australian Government's PacificAus Sports program, APRUP will create pathways to increase Pacific representation in elite rugby and strengthen Pacific national teams. 

The funding is a timely boost ahead the 2027 men's Rugby World Cup and 2029 women's Rugby World Cup and the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Already boasting a strong Pacific Nations identity, Eneliko is optimistic that the partnership will provide greater opportunity for overseas athletes and high-performance staff to make their way to the Brumbies. 

Eneliko is the head of Lakapi Samoa’s Women’s Academy and has been a key figure in developing future female talent within Samoa. Her exposure to the Oceania Women’s Combine and the Brumbies has allowed her to adopt and implement her learnings directly into the daily training environment that she delivers to her athletes.

Brumbies new additions in 2024 Joanne Butler and Neomai Vunga are also a testament to the talent found through the Women’s Combine . 

"Now women in the Pacific know there is a pathway for them to follow. Because most of the time, they only play at their local competitions," said Eneliko.

"So this is a really good initiative from Rugby Australia and PacificAus Sports."

Eneliko joined the Brumbies in 2023 and she is excited for other athletes and staff to experience a professional sporting environment for themselves. 

"Last year was really successful for me, learning all aspects of the game like Strength and Conditioning, Video Analysis and working with players to provide feedback," said the assistant coach.

"It is a good pathway for all people in the Pacific, especially the staff that want to pursue coaching as their career. Not only coaching, other areas like S&C are also important as the number of roles and development opportunities are limited on the islands.."

"It's about paving this pathway for everyone to follow, and I want them to know that when you get out of your comfort zone you will learn a lot,   This exposure will provide individuals with the opportunity see the bigger picture of exactly what high performance can look like in the Pacific."

PacificAus Sports is an Australian Government program driving ambitious high-performance sports partnerships between Australia and the nations of the Pacific. It is a flagship initiative of the Australia’s Sports Diplomacy 2030 strategy. 

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