Samoa, Fiji and Japan got their Rugby World Cup 2015 preparations off to a flying start with wins at the Pacific Nations Cup this weekend.
Fiji and Tonga set the tone for what promises to be a highly competitive tournament with a typically physical and entertaining encounter in humid conditions in Suva. Fiji won the battle 30-22 with the goal kicking of test debutant Ben Volavola making the difference.
In California, Japan’s all-time record points scorer Ayumu Goromaru kicked 15 points and Yoshikazu Fujita scored the only try of the game as the Brave Blossoms extended their unbeaten run against Canada to seven matches with a 20-6 win in the first match of the day at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose.
Later on, Samoa survived a stirring second-half fight-back by the USA to beat the Eagles 21-16 in San Jose and get their PNC campaign off to a winning start. The Pacific islanders scored all of their points in the first half, with tries from captain and winger Alesana Tuilagi, full-back Ahsee Tuala and 11 points from the boot of fly-half Patrick Fa’apale helping them to victory.
The PNC runs from 18 July to 3 August with teams drawn in two pools of three in a round-robin competition, played at venues in Fiji, USA and Canada. Adding extra excitement to the schedule, for the positional play-offs the teams will be ranked according to the number of competition points achieved across pool play. The finals will be held in Burnaby, Canada on 3 August.
Every match from the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup will be streamed live on www.worldrugby.org with the action also available on TV in certain countries.
With Rugby World Cup kick-off just two months away, the matches will give all sides important preparation time as they look ahead to the showcase event in England in September. The action moves to Bonney Field in Sacramento, California and Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby, Canada next Friday, 24 July where Fiji play Samoa, USA face Japan and Canada take on Tonga.