Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Pacific Nations Cup Fixtures Confirmed

Photo: IRB
2012 Winners Samoa replaced by
Canada and the USA.
After months of negotiations with the previous and new participating members the IRB has confirmed that the 2013 edition of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup will feature five Second Tier Rugby nations - Canada, Fiji, Japan, Tonga and the USA. All five are established Tier Two Nations that are permanent fixtures at Rugby World Cup tournaments. There could be six, though but Samoa will instead be playing in a four team tournament in South Africa involving the host nation, Italy and Scotland. The loss of Samoa is not going to harm the credibility of commercial viability of the competition. To the contrary with Canada and the USA on board the competition has a greater chance of growing further due to the optimistic future of North American rugby. The event will see all five countries facing each other with matches being spread around the three continents of Asia, North America and Oceania. 

The IRB is looking to use the event to aid the growth of not only the sport but also to help promote Rugby World Cup 2015 which will be played in Japan. As such Japan will host not only its match against Tonga but also its matches against both Canada and the USA. Its only away match will be against Fiji. Tonga will play no matches at home due to the lack of adequate facilities and Tongan Rugby´s reliance on the IRB for funding. Tonga will therefore start and end the tournament in Japan. The tournament is an eye to the future with a fixture such as one from the Pacific Nations Cup likely to open the World Cup in 2019. 

2013 Pacific Nations Cup
May 25 Japan v Tonga
May 25 USA v Canada
June 1 Fiji v Japan
June 8 Canada v Tonga
June 14 USA. v Tonga
June 19 Japan v Canada
June 19 Fiji v U.S.A.
June 23 Japan v USA
June 23 Tonga v Fiji

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