The Pacific Nations Cup was first held in 2006 and in its early years featured Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Japan and national representative sides from New Zealand and Australia.

Since 2010, the tournament has just featured national teams with Canada and USA joining an expanded field in 2013. The following year the teams were split into two conferences with Japan and Samoa topping one.

In 2015, the Pacific Nations Cup provided invaluable preparation for all six sides as they prepared for Rugby World Cup 2015 with Fiji beating Samoa 39-29 in the final.

The Pacific Nations Cup is a strategic initiative tournament designed to provide players from the participating unions with exposure to the rigours of international competition, in a condensed tournament format.

This year the Pacific Nations Cup will only feature Fiji, Samoa and Tonga as it kick-starts the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Oceania with the 2016 and 2017 competitions to determine the two sides that will qualify directly for the tournament in Japan. The other team will face a play-off against a European team for another shot at qualification for Japan 2019.