The significant outcome for the renewed Pacific Nations Cup competition for Lakapi Samoa:
- Increasing the number of competitive annual test matches.
- Provide long-term certainty and sustainable future from 2024.
- Certainty in delivering and optimizing commercial /performance returns.
- Combined opportunity with the proposed two-division global competition to be finalized.
The competition supports the bigger picture objective of reshaping the global men’s competition calendar and combined with the proposed two-division global competition model, renewed investment in regional competitions and cross-border club structures, the new competition landscape will secure a positive and sustainable future of international rugby for participating unions, providing a platform for accelerated growth.
The rebranded Pacific Nations Cup, which will be played in the southern hemisphere release window of August and September, will feature two pools of three teams – a North America/Japan pool and a Pacific Islands pool with each union hosting matches.
A finals series involving all teams will take place each year, where the annual champions will be confirmed. Japan and USA will host the finals series in alternate years, starting with Japan in 2024.
Backed by significant World Rugby investment and union support, each union will play a minimum of three additional matches a year via the new competition, delivering important certainty for each union in order to optimize commercial and performance returns, including ticket and sponsorship revenue and domestic broadcast.
Lakapi Samoa Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai said: “These are positive significant changes that will benefit our Manu Samoa for more annual international fixtures. The certainty from World Rugby to greater commercial opportunities to gain and sustain our small Unions into the future is progressive and exciting. Combined with the proposed new two-division global competition model from 2026 and cross-over fixtures, these changes will ensure greater number of matches in between and heading into Rugby World Cups. The global Calendar with the two-division competition is anticipated in 2026 will provide an opportunity for us to access on merit”
World Rugby Chief Executive Officer, Alan Gilpin added: “We are on the side of growth and this tournament is a key pillar in a wider strategy. Combined with the proposed new two-division global competition model from 2026 and cross-over fixtures against high performance unions, performance unions could be playing an unprecedented number of annual fixtures from 2026.”
Manu Samoa Head Coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua added: “I am excited at the potential of the expanded Pacific Nations Cup as it provides important high quality fixture certainty to grow and develop Manu Samoa.”
“This means we will have more test matches and more time together as a team which we have lacked in the past. This new environment will enable us to keep growing and developing as we look towards Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia.”