RWC 2015 gets five-star rating from Mehrtens
All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens has predicted that RWC 2015 will be the biggest and best tournament yet.
The tournament takes place just six weeks ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, with some quality match-ups in store.
Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan, USA and Canada will contest the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) between 18 July and 3 August this year.
World Rugby has announced the fixtures and match schedule for the tournament, which will give top quality competition to all six teams in a Rugby World Cup year.
PNC 2015 will be hosted in three countries: Fiji (18 July), USA (18 and 24 July) and Canada (24, 29 July and 3 August), across five different venues.
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ANZ Stadium in Suva, Fiji, hosts the opening match between Fiji and Tonga, with the action visiting Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California and Bonney Field, Sacramento, California (both USA), as well as BMO Stadium in Toronto, Canada, with the play-off finals hosted at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, Vancouver, Canada, on 3 August.
The Pacific Nations Cup 2015 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, with the overriding objective of improving the performance of these strategically important unions at Rugby World Cup.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This year is of particular significance for the six countries involved, with the Pacific Nations Cup taking place some six weeks out from the commencement of RWC 2015.
"Top competition for teams is one of World Rugby’s strategic aims and the Pacific Nations Cup gives teams beneficial game time to prepare for England 2015. The PNC also provides a platform for players to showcase their talents against quality and skilled opposition."
Kick-off times for the Pacific Nations Cup matches will be announced in due course.
World Rugby is committed to assisting lower-ranked international teams as they work to close the competition gap on the top sides, through a combination of investment in high performance programme support and a £3.3 million investment in competition structures for the senior national teams.