Having a competition like the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) is vital for the progress of rugby in the region.
These are the sentiments shared by the teams coaches playing in the PNC.
Teams with the caliber that Australia A possesses are important for Samoa, Fiji and Tonga to test their abilities and improve.
Ikale Tahi Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu said the PNC means a lot in terms of getting more game time for their players.
“It allows us to work on our team combinations and getting more game time, learning from each game, playing quality teams like Australia A, Samoa and Fiji,” Kefu said.
With Australia A in the mix it allows the regional teams to test their capabilities with some current and potential Wallabies.
Australia A head coach Jason Gilmore said having their program back enabled them to give their players more game time.
“That is the beauty of this program, having the Australia A back. Dave (Rennie) has got a squad of 35 in Australia at the moment, so some of those guys may be released to cross over in the next couple of weeks if they are not playing,” Gilmore said.
The Australia A team also has a number of players who have been part of the Wallabies set-up.
These players may be able to be rotated into the main Wallabies squad should some players be dropped either by injury or performance.
Manu Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua shared the same views as Kefu, stating that the PNC was more than a competition.
He said it was a way of exposing and marketing their players at test level.
Flying Fijians head coach Verner Cotter said it was a way for them to gel and test their team combinations.
Given the limited number of tests available for Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, all three countries value having the PNC.