18 Dec 2008

Australia drop out of Pacific Nations Cup

6:07 am on 18 December 2008

Australia A will not compete in next year's Pacific Nations rugby Cup.

The ARU board announced yesterday a "strategic decision" to pull out of the competition amidst the current economic environment.

Australia A finished second in the past two years of the tournament, which has given fringe players a chance to stake their claims for Wallabies selection.

The ARU also announced it would suspend the 2009 Australian Rugby Shield, a round robin tournament involving teams from Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory, NSW Country and Queensland Country.

Despite the global economic crisis, the ARU said it would still deliver full core funding to its state affiliates next year.

The ARU said it would "continue rolling out almost $8 million in allocations for grassroots development nationwide in 2009, on top of more than $17 million in Super 14 grants."