Exciting New Format for IRB Pacific Rugby Cup
The International Rugby Board has announced details of an exciting new format for the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2010, which will be played from May 5-29.
For the first time, the key player development tournament will follow a more traditional single-hosting format with the Fiji Rugby Union awarded the hosting rights for an event that has become a showcase for emerging talent in the Pacific Islands.
Fiji will host rounds two to five as well as the final. The first round of the tournament will see local derbies hosted by Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. The new format will present a more festival atmosphere for players and spectators alike, while maximising commercial and broadcast potential.
The opening round of the tournament will see 2006 champions Savai’i Samoa taking on 2007 winners Upolu Samoa in Apia, reigning champions Fiji Warriors against Fiji Barbarians in Sigatoka and Tau’uta Reds taking on 2008 winners Tautahi Gold in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.
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“The new tournament format was developed in consultation with each of the Member Unions following the review of the first four years of this hugely successful competition,” said Tournament Director and IRB Regional General Manager for Oceania Will Glenwright.
“The condensed tournament format provides the same High Performance outcomes, whilst replicating the format of other tournaments, such as Rugby World Cup and the IRB Junior World Championship, for which the PRC is used to prepare players.”
FRU Chief Executive Officer Keni Dakuidreketi added: “We are delighted to be hosting the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2010. We learnt a lot as an organisation from the successful hosting of the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup last year and we’re looking forward to applying those lessons – and building on them – to deliver an outstanding tournament for the next generation of Rugby stars from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.”
The IRB Pacific Rugby Cup is a key element of the IRB’s £48million Strategic Investment aimed at improving the global competitiveness of Rugby.
The tournament, which provides an opportunity for the best locally-based players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to hone their skills in a cross-border format, has proven a hugely successful High Performance component, bridging the gap between local competitions and Test Rugby.
In 2009, 30 players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga graduated from the Pacific Rugby Cup to gain selection in the respective Test teams for the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup.
“The IRB Pacific Rugby Cup is critically important to our preparations for Rugby World Cup 2011. It is a proven stage for testing the next generation of local players in a high level international competition and it gives us an opportunity to see who is ready to take the next step towards Test honours. Many of the current crop of national team players got their break in the PRC," said Fiji coach Samu Domoni.