Schedule Set for 2009 IRB Pacific Rugby Cup
The match schedule has been announced for the Pacific Islands’ premier player development competition, the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2009. The highly-competitive tournament, which features two regional teams from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, will kick off on April 24.
“The IRB Pacific Rugby Cup has played a significant part in the development of the Game in the Pacific Islands over the past three years. It has grown to become a major focal point for the three participating Unions, generating excellent attendances, providing competitive matches while maintaining a strong emphasis on the identification and preparation of locally-based players for the Test arena,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“The tournament is a key element of the IRB’s four-year £48 million global strategic investment programme aimed at driving global playing standards and has provided the opportunity for over 200 players in the Islands to gain exposure to a high-intensity representative tournament that bridges the gap between club Rugby and the ANZ IRB Pacific Nations Cup,” added Lapasset.
The 2008 tournament alone saw 47 players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga graduate through to the IRB’s flagship international tournament for the Oceania region, the IRB Pacific Nations Cup, while Rugby World Cup 2007 in France also saw a number of players from the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup starring for their country on the biggest stage of all in what was a hugely successful tournament for the Pacific Island Unions.
“The IRB Pacific Rugby Cup has grown in stature over the past three years and, in conjunction with the High Performance Units established in the Islands, is a major component in the growth of Rugby across the Islands. It has become a focal component of the Rugby Community, has generated strong crowds and has inspired great interest in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. The 2009 competition promises to be even better,” said IRB Regional General Manager for Oceania Will Glenwright.
The 2009 tournament kicks off on April 24 with 2006 champions Savai’i Samoa facing Tau’uta Reds of Tonga in Apia and the all-Fijian affair between the Barbarians and the Warriors in Sigatoka. Defending champions Tautahi Gold, the first non-Samoan side to win the competition, start their title defence against Upolu Samoa in Nuku'alofa the following day in a repeat of the 2008 final, which the Tongans edged 11-3.
Four further rounds will follow before the top two teams in the standings compete in the Grand Final on the weekend of May 30-31.
IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2009 Match Schedule
Friday, April 24 - Savai'i Samoa v Tau'uta Reds - Apia Park - KO 17.30 local time
Friday, April 24 - Fiji Barbarians v Fiji Warriors - Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka - KO 17.00
Saturday, April 25 - Tautahi Gold v Upolu Samoa - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa - KO 15:00
Friday, May 1 - Upolu Samoa v Tau’uta Reds - Apia Park - KO 17:30
Friday, May 1 - Fiji Barbarians v Savai’i Samoa - Churchill Park, Lautoka - KO 18:00
Saturday, May 2 - Tautahi Gold v Fiji Warriors - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku’alofa - KO 12:00
Friday, May 8 - Upolu Samoa v Fiji Barbarians - Apia Park - KO 17:30
Saturday, May 9 - Fiji Warriors v Savai'i Samoa - Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka - KO 15:00
Saturday, May 9 - Tautahi Gold v Tau'uta Reds - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku’alofa - KO 15:00
Friday, May 15 - Fiji Warriors v Upolu Samoa - Churchill Park, Lautoka - KO 18:00
Saturday, May 16 - Tau'uta Reds v Fiji Barbarians - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa - KO 12.00
Saturday, May 16 - Savai'i Samoa v Tautahi Gold - Prince Edward Park, Iva - KO 14:00
Friday, May 22 - Savai'i Samoa v Upolu Samoa - Apia Park - KO 17:30
Friday, May 22 - Fiji Barbarians v Tautahi Gold - Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka - KO 17:00
Saturday, May 23 - Tau'uta Reds v Fiji Warriors - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa - KO 15:00
May 30/31 - Venue and kick off time to be confirmed
Dominic Rumbles, IRB Head of Communications, +353 (0) 86-852-0826, email: firstname.lastname@example.org