Thursday 17 May 2007

Pacific Nations Cup

This weekend is gonna be a busy one in the rugby world; two major European finals, the Super 14 final, the start of the Churchill cup and the IRB London sevens. All of these tournaments (yes even the Churchill cup somehow) overshadow the start of the Pacific Nations Cup. Which is a shame because who wouldn't like to see Tonga, Samoa and Fiji knock seven shades of shit out of each other. Well maybe not so much the Fijians but Tonga and Samoa are two highly entertaining teams to watch in my opinion. Sure they lack the finesse of the top 10 nations and they are nowhere near as technically sound upfront which costs them dearly but you have to admire the heart that they play with. That and they hit each other really really really hard. Applying a kind of islander warrior culture to the game ensures some of the most passionate rugby you will ever see.

One of the great shames of the modern game has been the fall of the island nations. Not so long ago these three teams were potential banana skins for any of the rugby world superpowers. Nowadays they can give them a scare for 40 minutes before their opponents superior fitness and technical ability overcomes the islanders. These days their rampaging aggresiveness is confined to the Pacific Nations Cup with Australia 'A' and the junior All Blacks. I'm not exactly sure of the state of the game in these three island nations but Fiji are a dominant sevens team, I presume they're still not very good at the full game, Samoa are a rising sevens power, again I'm not sure of their current ability at the full 15 a-side game and Tonga have been off the rugby world radar for years.

I'd still gladly watch the Pacific tournament above anything else this weekend, you'd be guaranteed big hits, A LOT of free flowing rugger and enough passion to fill the Millennium stadium twice over

19/5 - Samoa - Fiji
23/5 - Tonga - Australia 'A'

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