The reimagined Pacific Nations Cup will take place across five weekends from August 23 to September 21 this year

World Rugby has announced a new-look Pacific Nations Cup tournament will launch this August in a bid to “level up” the global game ahead of the expanded 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Six teams – Canada, Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and USA – will be split into two pools of three for the annual battle, which will play out over five weekends from August 23 to September 21 this year, with the long-term vision to create the types of rivalries we see in the Six Nations and Rugby Championship.

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Each team is guaranteed to play at least three matches in the competition with a minimum of one home fixture, providing the participating unions with an opportunity to market matches and grow audiences.

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have been grouped together in Pool A and will play each other in home or away fixtures. This represents a significant increase in the number of tests organised in the Pacific Islands and Tonga will host more home Pacific Nations Cup fixtures in the next four years than they have in all competitions over the last decade.

Across the Pacific Ocean, Canada, Japan and USA will face each other to claim the top two positions of Pool B.

Once the group phase is complete, the Pacific Nations Cup will culminate in a winner-takes-all finals series. This will alternate between Japan and USA, which have been identified as two strategically important markets for the future advancement of the sport.

Hosted in Japan for the first edition, all six teams will travel to Tokyo to either play in the fifth-place play-off or the semi-finals between pool winners and pool runners-up on September 14-15.

The third-place play-off and final will be hosted in Osaka a week later on September 21 to crown the Pacific Nations Cup 2024 champion, an exciting prospect for rugby fans around the world.

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World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “World Rugby’s mission is a global sport for all. The reimagined Pacific Nations Cup is an example of our mission in action.

“Combined with the proposed new two-division global competition model from 2026 and crossover fixtures against high-performance unions, performance unions could be playing an unprecedented number of annual fixtures from 2026.”

Japan men’s head coach Eddie Jones added: “The Pacific Nations Cup is really important for Japan because it allows us to play regular tests against strong countries in tournament conditions, which is great practice for the players for Rugby World Cup.

“The Pacific Nations Cup fits in right next to the Rugby Championship and Six Nations in providing that regular competition for Pacific nations. Having finals is also a good way for players to experience games that have consequences, and it is great for Japan to host them in the first year, showing why it is a great rugby country.”

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