By JOSEPHINE NAVULA
The flying Fijians will take on Japan in their opening match in this year’s Pacific Nation Cup Competition.
The International Rugby Board has announced an exciting shake-up of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup with an expanded schedule and inclusion of new teams confirmed for 2013.
The new-look competition will be played between May 25 and June 23 and will see matches hosted in Canada, Fiji, Japan and USA. Japan will host the finale to the IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2013 with double-headers on the final two match days as excitement continues to build ahead of the nation’s hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This exciting enhancement to the IRB Pacific Nations Cup is good news for Japan, Canada, USA and the Pacific Islands. We now have in place an annual high-calibre competition that will deliver compelling matches, while also fulfilling the high performance needs of our Unions. I am sure it will capture hearts and minds in the Pacific Islands and North America.”
Reigning champions Samoa take a sabbatical from the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in 2013 to play in a quadrangular competition in South Africa in June against the Springboks, Scotland and Italy, having earned their spot as the highest-ranked Tier Two Union in 2012.