(IRB.COM) Thursday 11 March 2010
The International Rugby Board has announced that Samoa will host the 2010 ANZ Pacific Nations Cup. The awarding of the key international tournament to the Samoa Rugby Union represents a further boost to the continued development and promotion of Rugby both in the country and across the whole of the Pacific Islands.
Fiji, Tonga and hosts Samoa will be joined by Japan for the strategically important IRB-funded tournament which will provide vital preparation for each of the participating Unions as they build towards Rugby World Cup 2011.
The two-week festival of Rugby kicks off on June 12 with a mouth-watering encounter between Fiji and Japan in Lautoka. Last year the two teams delivered a compelling spectacle in the final round of matches with Fiji edging the match 40-39 at the death. Samoa and Tonga play their opening match the same day in Apia, and two rounds later a new name will be etched onto the coveted Trophy.
With all but one of the matches again being played in one country, the 2010 tournament offers a platform for the delivery of key legacy initiatives, including refereeing and coaching workshops and junior rugby clinics and competitions, all geared towards the strategic goal of increasing competitiveness throughout the Pacific Islands.
"The hosting of the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup matches in Samoa is a very exciting development for a tournament that is well-established as a major event on the Rugby calendar," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"Samoa has a rich and proud Rugby heritage and I am sure that the Samoa Rugby Union will embrace the opportunity to showcase their country and the Union with the first major international fifteen-a-side tournament to be hosted in the country."
"The Game continues to achieve growth around the world through the IRB's £48 million Strategic Investment Programme, and this tournament is a key element, providing the Participating Unions with an expanded competition calendar and a dedicated player development pathway aimed at increasing competitiveness at Test level, and ultimately at Rugby World Cup," added Lapasset.
Samoa Rugby Union Chairman Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said: "The Samoa Rugby Union is honoured and delighted to be this year's hosts for the IRB Pacific Nations Cup. Being undoubtedly the Pacific Islands' [not Island's as many islands ] Premier tournament, Samoa will certainly be looking forward to a tremendous festival of entertaining Rugby."
Samoa Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Su'a Peter Schuster, said: "Hosting the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup 2010 will be a special moment for the Samoa Rugby Union and the people of Samoa as it will be the first major Rugby tournament played in the [ teh ] country since last year's tsunami disaster. We are looking forward to welcoming Fiji, Japan and Tonga to Samoa, for a competition that will be a source of excitement and joy for everyone in the country."
Sat 12 June - Samoa vs Tonga, Apia Park 15.10
Sat 12 June - Fiji vs Japan, Churchill Park 15.10
Sat 19 June - Samoa vs Japan, Apia Park 13.10
Sat 19 June - Fiji vs Tonga, Apia Park 16.10
Sat 26 June - Fiji vs Samoa, Apia Park 13.10
Sat 26 June - Japan vs Tonga, Apia Park 16.10