Australia A will feature as the fourth team in the upcoming World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup 2022, to be held in Fiji from July 2 to July 16.
Over the years Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have been joined by a fourth team which has given the much needed spark.
Japan played in the PNC when it was last played in 2019. Before that it was the Jaguares from Argentina.
According to World Rugby, the tournament will be played in a round-robin format with the Pacific Nations Cup winner determined by the highest number of competition points at the end of the three match-days, with a win worth four points, a draw two points and bonus points for scoring
more than four tries or losing by seven points or less.
Fiji will aim to clinch their sixth Pacific Nations Cup title in front of their home crowd after finishing as runners-up to Japan when the tournament was last organised before the pandemic in 2019.
They kick-off their campaign against Tonga on Saturday, 2 July, and will close the tournament against Samoa on 16 July.
An impressive line-up of experienced match officials, including Wayne Barnes (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa) and Nic Berry (Australia) will take charge of the six fixtures. The full list of appointments can be found here.
Tonga will look to impress as they play a decisive fixture a week later for Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification. On 23 July, they will face the Asia
Rugby Championship winner in a one-match play-off to decide who qualifies as Asia/Pacific 1 and joins South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Europe 2 in Pool B.
Tonga’s matches will be the first since a volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami hit the country in January 2022. World Rugby recently established the Tonga Rugby Infrastructure and Rebuilding Fund and pledged £100,000 to kick-start the restoration of Tonga’s rugby infrastructure.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said it was delightful to bring back the Pacific Nations Cup on the international stage, three years after the last edition.
“The tournament isn’t only a great platform for increasing competitiveness in the region, it’s also a fabulous opportunity for these teams to play in front of their fans and families,” he said.
“Being able to organise a tournament of this scale in Fiji is a very positive sign after the pandemic’s challenging years and we look forward to a fantastic couple of weeks in July.”
July 2 at Suva: Australia A vs. Samoa; Fiji vs. Tonga
July 9 at Lautoka: Samoa s. Tonga; Fiji vs. Australia A
July 16 at Lautoka: Tonga vs. Australia A; Fiji vs. Samoa