The Oceania Rugby Cup (formally known as the FORU Cup) was first played across New Caledonia, Tahiti, Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea in 2007. It is Oceania Rugby’s longest serving tournament.
The PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) will host the Oceania Cup for the next four years with Interim Chairman Sydney Yates saying that it is the perfect opportunity to grow the game in PNG, in light of the challenges surrounding the hosting of such events.
“To have the rights to host the Oceania Cup is indeed a huge boost to our morale,” Yates said.
“It's an indication of Oceania Rugby’s acknowledgement that we have turned the proverbial corner, in sorting our issues and putting rugby back on track,” Yates added.
“The city of Port Moresby provides the perfect back drop for the tournament. As the host city of the 2015 Pacific Games, the 2016 FIFA U19 Women’s World Cup and the 2018 APEC Summit, Port Moresby has the infrastructure, facilities and services to cater for visiting teams, supporters, tournament officials and dignitaries,” Yates explained.
Key inclusions in this year’s Oceania Rugby Cup will see Nauru make their international debut while Niue returns to the international XVs stage after 8 years.
Seeking to invigorate XVs rugby across its development and performance unions, Oceania Rugby Competitions Manager Wayne Schuster said that this year’s competition will hopefully inspire more regular and meaningful competition pathways.
“There is an immense amount of potential across our Western Pacific nations to grow and develop the XVs game,” Schuster added.
“Through increased meaningful competitions and training and education programs we’ve undertaken; we look forward to seeing these nations joining other Pacific nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga at the higher levels of competition,” Schuster said.
“We are sincerely grateful to PNGRFU and the country of Papua New Guinea for their foresight in hosting this year’s Oceania Rugby Men’s Cup, and we are excited with their vision to grow the competitiveness of the XVs game not only in Papua New Guinea, but also across other development and performance nations in the region,” he added.
The competition structure will see one main pool and round-robin playoffs with the first round to begin on Friday the 23rd of August.
Port Moresby is earmarked to be the catalyst to host a regular XVs tournament for Oceania Rugby’s Tier 3 nations as part of increasing competitiveness across the region.
2019 Oceania Cup Schedule (PNG Football Stadium)
Match Round 1: Friday 23 August, 2019
1.00pm Solomon Islands v Niue
3.30pm Papua New Guinea v Nauru
Match Round 2: Tuesday 27 August, 2019
1.00pm Solomon Islands v Nauru
3.30pm Papua New Guinea v Niue
Match Round 3: Saturday 31 August, 2019
1.00pm Niue v Nauru
3.30pm Papua New Guinea v Solomon Islands
Photo file. Caption: Nauruans will be closely following their team that is making its international debut in XVs rugby