Pacific Rugby Cup schedule announced
February 2, 2007

The International Rugby Board (IRB) today announced the schedule for the 2007 IRB Pacific Rugby Cup.

The Tournament, which involves two representative teams from each of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, will kick-off on March 31.

"The IRB is committed to increasing global playing standards and competitiveness through the unprecedented three year US$50 million global strategic investment programme that was launched in August 2005," said International Rugby Board Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.

"A key element of the investment programme was the implementation of four new international competitions in 2006, with the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup being the first to be launched. The inaugural Tournament proved to be a big success, attracting strong crowds, producing competitive matches and was also instrumental in preparing locally based players in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for the Test arena," added Dr Millar.

The Tournament provides an opportunity for over 180 locally-based players in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to be tested in a high intensity international representative competition that bridges the gap between club or provincial Rugby and Test Rugby.

The Tournament follows the completion of Fiji's Colonial Cup, Samoa's Vailima National Provincial Championship and Tonga's Datec Cup Provincial Championship and provides the coaches of the three national teams with a competitive player development pathway ahead of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup which kicks off in May.

"Aside from generating significant interest and close, competitive matches, the inaugural Tournament proved successful in providing a highly competitive platform for national squad selection," said the International Rugby Board's General Manager for the Pacific Islands, Will Glenwright.

"In total 27 players graduated from the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup to represent their country during the IRB Nations Cup in 2006 underlining the importance of the Tournament in preparing locally-based players for the Test arena," added Glenwright.

Newly appointed coach of the Fiji National Team Ilivasi Tabua believes the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup takes on a new level of importance in a Rugby World Cup year.

"The beauty of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup is that it provides the ideal platform for us to test the best locally based players through the week-in, week-out intensity of an international Rugby competition. In showcasing the next generation of international stars the Tournament provides a perfect opportunity for players to push for a Rugby World Cup squad place."

The 2007 IRB Pacific Rugby Cup kicks off on March 31. Round One begins with Savai'i Samoa opening its title defence against Upolu Samoa in Apia, while Tau'uta Reds of Tonga host last year's beaten finalists Fiji Warriors in Nuku'alofa and Fiji Barbarians take on Tautahi Gold in Nadi. Four further rounds will follow on consecutive weekends before the top two ranked teams contest the 2007 IRB Pacific Rugby Cup final on May 5.

IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2007

Round One - Saturday March 31

Savai'i Samoa v Upolu Samoa - Apia Park, Apia, 3pm

Tau'uta Reds v Fiji Warriors - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa, 3pm

Fiji Barbarians v Tautahi Gold - Prince Charles Park, Nadi, 3pm

Round 2 - Saturday April 7

Upolu Samoa v Fiji Barbarians - Apia Park, Apia 3pm

Fiji Warriors v Savai'i Samoa - Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori, 3pm

Tautahi Gold v Tau'uta Reds- Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa, 3pm

Round 3 - Saturday April 14

Tautahi Gold v Fiji Warriors - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa, 3pm

Fiji Barbarians v Savai'i Samoa - Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka, 3pm

Upolu Samoa v Tau'uta Reds - Apia Park, Apia, 3pm

Round 4 - Saturday April 21

Fiji Barbarians v Fiji Warriors - Churchill Park, Lautoka, 3pm

Tautahi Gold v Upolu Samoa - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa, 3pm

Savai'i Samoa v Tau'uta Reds - Prince Edward Park, Savai'i, 3pm

Round 5 - Saturday April 28

Tau'uta Reds v Fiji Barbarians - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa, 3pm

Fiji Warriors v Upolu Samoa - Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori, 3pm

Savai'i Samoa v Tautahi Gold - Apia Park, Apia, 3pm

Final - Saturday May 5 (Venue and Kick-off time TBC)

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