Yet again the Pacific Nations Cup has changed it’s format. There are still the usual 6 teams involved in Fiji, Japan, Tonga, USA, Samoa and Canada. We also have the normal 3 rounds as that’s what fits in the International release window. This time it looks like a straight table of 6 teams where they don’t play each other.
Let’s just be honest these are Rugby World Cup warmup games not really a cup competition. Either way more tier 2 games are always good but it does mean it’ll be interesting how each side approaches this as far as use of their full squad.
Samoa v Tonga – Tonga by 5
Samoa came last in the pacific qualifying meaning that they had to beat Canada in a playoff to make it to the Rugby World Cup. Sometimes though the sun is shining on you and their World Cup Group is arguably easier than Tonga’s.
Tonga though have been the better of the 2 sides since the last Rugby World Cup. It’s seen Tonga to 13th in the World Rankings 3 places higher than Samoa. Tonga have beaten Samoa by 4 and 10 points in their last 2 games. Again I think Tonga will come out on top by a close margin.
Japan v Fiji – Fiji by 10
Due to Rugby World Cup qualifying, these 2 sides haven’t met since 2016. Fiji won that game 38-25 in the November window. These are the top 2 tier 2 sides with Fiji in 9th and Japan in 11th in the world rankings. They are also 2 sides that have caused recent Tier 1 losses. Fiji beat France last November and as we all know Japan beat South Africa in the last Rugby World Cup 4 years ago. Fiji have fully deserved their top 10 ranking and with 2 games against the Maori All Blacks over the last 2 weekends to warm them up, they should be more match ready as well. With all that I think Fiji should get a good win this weekend.
USA v Canada – USA by 10
Canada were the last team to qualify for the Rugby World Cup as they won the repechage. A bit like with Tonga and Samoa it appears that the team that qualified worse got the easier group!
As my friends on the American Rugby Podcast will tell you, the USA have had the upper hand over Canada recently. That’s matched by their world rankings as the USA is in 15th compared to Canada down in 21st. Just like the last few meetings of these sides the USA should get a comfortable win.
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