IRB Announce Pacific Nations Cup Moved from Japan to Fiji

April 27, 2011

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has confirmed that all but one of the Pacific Nations Cup 2011 matches will be moved from Japan to Fiji following the devastating earthquake and Tsunami that hit the north-east coast of the nation last month.

The decision was taken jointly with the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and follows a detailed review of the logistical, cough administrative and operational requirements for hosting four international teams and six Test matches. The relocation will now enable the JRFU to fully focus on its core business and Rugby World Cup 2011 preparations as Japan starts the extensive rebuilding process.

The opening match between Japan and Samoa on July 2 will remain in Tokyo with the five remaining matches relocated to Lautoka and Suva for the tournament, free order which runs until July 13.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This has been a hard decision for everyone involved, given that the Japan Rugby Football Union has shown great enthusiasm for hosting the IRB Pacific Nations Cup this year, but all stakeholders agreed that it is in the best interests of the Union, the nation and the tournament.

“The thoughts of the global Rugby family continue to be with the people of Japan and everyone affected by the earthquake and Tsunami as they focus on the rebuilding process across the country. We will continue to give the Japan Rugby Football Union our support and assistance.”

IRB Regional General Manager for Oceania and Tournament Director William Glenwright added: “An international event of this magnitude, which was broadcast in over 150 countries in 2010, requires a considerable amount of detailed logistical and operational planning and preparation.

“The Japan Rugby Football Union, like everyone in Japan, has been acutely affected by the earthquake and Tsunami and their focus, quite rightly, is on continuing to give the Japanese Rugby community the best support they can as well as preparing for their participation at Rugby World Cup 2011 in less than five months time.”

“The Japan Rugby Football Union has been incredibly supportive throughout this difficult process and the IRB is committed to ensuring that they remain central to a tournament that they have worked so hard on hosting. It is therefore fitting that Samoa, who experienced the devastating impact of a Tsunami in 2009, will play their match against Japan in Tokyo as scheduled in a show of solidarity and support.”

While disappointed that the event has moved, the Japan Rugby Football Union recognised that the decision to relocate was the appropriate action to take and are committed to continuing to play their part to ensure that the tournament is a success, with Chairman Tatsuzo Yabe saying: “The relocation of matches was a difficult decision to take for the Japan Rugby Football Union and the IRB. It was a great disappointment, given our commitment to delivering an outstanding tournament, but it was the logical decision.

“However, we are pleased that we will be playing Samoa in Tokyo as scheduled and will use the match as a sign of support for the Japan Rugby community, while showing our ability to deliver a superb Test match.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Fiji Rugby Union for stepping up to host at short notice and we give our full support and blessing to the Union.”