February 18, 2014 (ISN) – The next generation of Pacific Rugby talent will be on display across Australia in the coming weeks when the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2014 kicks off on Friday February 21 in Perth.
PRC 2014 will include the A teams from Australia’s Super Rugby franchises, Force, Brumbies, Waratahs and Reds, the national A teams from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, Junior Japan plus, for the first time, the tournament will also include the Argentina Pampas XV.
PRC is being delivered by the IRB through its strategic initiative funding programme and will culminate in a final at TG Milner Field, Sydney, on Sunday March 23.
The month-long tournament is designed as a high-performance pathway that will give the Australian, Pacific Island, Japanese and Argentinean Unions the opportunity to develop their up-and-coming talent, testing the players on the international stage.
PRC is being hosted by the Australian Rugby Union and CEO Bill Pulver said: “It’s a very exciting time for Rugby as we kick-off a new season and the Pacific Rugby Cup will assist with the development of our players.”
“PRC, with no age limits, will be a useful tournament for our Super Rugby teams to give their sides more chances to test their squads, while also competing for the title of PRC champions. The tournament will add to the depth of Australian Rugby and enhance our pathways processes.”
IRB Regional General Manager for Oceania Will Glenwright believes the investment in the PRC by the IRB is paying dividends.
“This is the ninth year we have underwritten the tournament and it has produced and developed numerous players who have gone to play for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup and other Test matches,” said Glenwright.
“The PRC now also provides the Australian Rugby Union with a pathway for its next generation of Super Rugby players and Wallabies. The development of Japanese Rugby continues as it prepares to host Rugby World Cup 2019 as we saw it beat Wales last year.”
“And for the first time we have included the Argentina Pampas XV to assist the development of future Pumas,” he added.
In the PRC, the teams have been split into two pools. Pool A comprises Reds A, Force A, Fiji Warriors and Junior Japan. Pool B is made up of Gen Blu (NSW A), ACT A, Samoa A, Tonga A and Argentina Pampas XV. The teams will play each other once in their pools with the top two teams of each pool progressing to the semi-finals.
The match schedule also provides for some additional matches with Fiji Warriors playing NSW Under 20 and Pampas XV, while Junior Japan will play Queensland Under 20.