World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup Doubleheader
The teams included in the inaugural tournament were Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and the Junior All Blacks. Since there were five teams competing in the competition it was called the ‘IRB Pacific Five Nations Cup’. The "New Zealand A" team or the Junior All Blacks won all their matches and ended up with the first position.
Australia joined the tournament in 2007 and sent in their A team to participate. They got the second position in the tournament, losing out to the Junior All Blacks who won their second consecutive cup. Australia used the competition to single out players for their Wallaby selection. The All Blacks concluded the tournament with the highest points ever achieved in the Pacific National Cup. With the help of five bonus points, they finished with a total of twenty five points. Samoa came third and was followed by Fiji at the fourth place. Japan was at the bottom of the table again.
The Junior All Blacks did not compete in 2008. As a result, Maori had the perfect competition and they won the Cup without losing a single match. Australia A finished at second place while Samoa got third place. However after the 2008 edition Australia withdrew from the competition citing the economic environment as the primary reason. They have not participated in the Pacific Nations Cup since then.
The Junior All Blacks returned for the competition in 2009 and proved to the world that they are one of the most dominant teams in Rugby, in the Pacific Cup. Playing in their third tournament, they cruised to victory without losing a single game. It was their third Pacific Cup win in as many appearances.
From 2010 to 2012, the tournament was contested by four nations, namely Fiji, Japan, Samoa and Tonga. In these three years, new winners emerged who had previously not won the cup. In 2010 Samoa came first followed by Fiji and then Japan. Next year Japan made a miraculous turnaround and won two of their three games to win the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time. In previous editions, Japan had only managed to get third place as the highest ranking. The 2012 edition was won by Samoa for the second time.
In 2013 the United States and Canada joined the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time, while Samoa opted out of the tournament. Samoa competed in the South African quadrangular tournament instead of the Pacific Nations Cup. As a result Fiji was able to lift the cup for the first time. Canada also had a terrific run; they finished second in their debut cup. The United States team was not as fortuitous and ended up at the bottom of the table.
The 2014 cup saw six teams competing in the cup and was followed by a change in rules as well. Instead of a single champion being declared, the cup was competed in two halves. The Asia/Pacific Conference and the Pacific Islands Conference. Japan, United States and Canada were part of the Asia/Pacific Conference, while Samoa, Fiji and Tonga were members of the Pacific Islands Conference. As a result two winners of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup were declared. Japan won the Asia/Pacific Conference to lift its second title, while Samoa won the Pacific Islands Conference to win their third title.
This year the same six teams will compete in the Pacific Nations Cup but only one team will emerge as the winner. There will two pools and the cross pool matches will determine the three final play-offs. The teams will then be seeded accordingly. Get World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup doubleheader tickets and watch the competitive rugby action just before the World Cup kicks off.