19 Feb 2011

Pacific Rugby Cup starts

1:08 pm on 19 February 2011

The Pacific Rugby Cup gets underway today with a new format and new teams.

Gone are the regional teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga - replaced with their countries' national A sides.

The format will also see them playing locking horns with development teams from a number of New Zealand and Australia's Super Rugby franchises.

Samoa A play the Brumby Runners first up in Canberra this evening and their coach, Fepuleai Patu, is expecting a stiff challenge.

"With the Brumbies I think they will play the same style as their senior team. But I heard from our HPO manager, who was in Fiji, that they have a huge development going on with this franchise - they have very fit teams and also the mix of young and old players."

Fepuleai Patu says the tournament is a big step for his team, which is comprised of mainly local players, with a handful of Samoa sevens internationals joining the team for a few weeks.

In today's other opening matches, Tonga A play the Junior Waratahs and Fiji A play the Queensland Reds Academy.