The Colonial Cup (named after sponsors The Colonial National Bank) is the second highest level of competition within Fijian rugby union and is a stepping stone for local players into international rugby union. It is Fiji's first professional league though the players are only paid £40 a week plus lodgings.
In 2004, with the gap between provincial rugby in Fiji and test rugby at an unacceptable level, the Fiji Rugby Union introduced a brand new, streamlined competition to identify and prepare local players for the international stage. The 30-odd provincial unions were grouped into four franchises along geographical lines. Players not selected for one team could be picked up by one of the others.
The new competition started on the 3rd of April 2004 and finished the 22nd of May 2004 in time for the international test window. The four teams played a round-robin followed by semi-finals and a grand final. The Coastal Stallions held off a late rally from the Suva Highlanders to claim the inaugural Colonial Cup 26-21
In 2005 an extra team was added, Northern Sharks, made of players from Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau. Previously the Northern Division had belonged to the Suva franchise. Suva Highlanders won the Grand final with a 35-27 win over Western Crusaders.
In 2006, with the introduction of a Super 14 style tournament called the Pacific Rugby Cup, the void in the Pacific Island competition pathway between club or provincial rugby in the respective islands and Test rugby was on its way to being filled. Coastal Stallions defeated Suva Highlanders 29-15 in a tough encounter to clinch the 2006 title.
Fiji’s best 150 players are divided up into 6 professionally run franchises. These franchises play each other over 10 weeks culminating in a semi-final and final. The league uses 4 points for a win; 2 for a draw; 1 bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match; 1 bonus point for losing by 7 points or less. The top four teams then proceed to the semi-finals.