24 Feb 2012

Sport: IRB hoping to build on Pacific Rugby Cup success

11:20 am on 24 February 2012

The Pacific Rugby Cup kicks off in Canberra on Friday with the International Rugby Board hoping to build on the success of last year's tournament.

The format was changed in 2011 with National A teams from Tonga, Fiji and Samoa playing against each other and Super Rugby development teams in New Zealand and Australia.

The IRB's Regional General Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright, says that proved a big step up in standards for the Pacific teams from the previous provincial competition.

He says while there are longer-term plans to expand the tournament this year the focus is on consolidation.

"We were so happy with how the tournament worked last year and the opportunities it provided - particular for the locally-based Pacific Island players and that, at the end of the day, is what this tournament is set up for. With that said, the ARU and the NZRU certainly see the benefit of the tournament as well and that's why they're keen for the format to continue. This year it's focused just really on continuing to build it and hopefully laying the foundations for future expansion."