World Rugby has announced the schedule for the Americas Pacific Challenge 2016, a new “A” team tournament funded by the game’s governing body.
The inaugural event, which includes two teams each from the Pacific Islands, North America and South America, will be hosted in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 8-16 October, 2016.
The Americas Pacific Challenge has been introduced to boost the high-performance pathway for the test arena and supports the Americas Rugby Championship and Pacific Nations Cup as well as November international test window preparation.
Pool A features Argentina XV, USA Selects and Samoa A, while Fiji Warriors, Canada A and Uruguay A are in Pool B. The tournament will be a round-robin, first-past-the-post tournament format played across three competition rounds. Teams will play each side in their opposite pool once, with the winner and final rankings determined by the total number of competition points accrued across the three rounds.
Matches will be played at the Estadio Charrua, Montevideo, on 8, 12 and 16 October.
World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot said: “The Americas Pacific Challenge is part of World Rugby’s strategy to enhance the performance pathway for tier-two teams in a Rugby World Cup cycle.
“With teams already preparing for Rugby World Cup 2019 as well as the upcoming November test schedule, the APC will give teams an opportunity to bring through young players and give competitive game time to players who want to step up to the next level.
“With the buzz from rugby still resonating after the Olympics in Rio, this gives us another opportunity to bring international tournaments to the region and really grow the game in South America.”
Unión de Rugby del Uruguay President Sebastian Piñeyrua said: “The APC will be a great chance for Uruguay to continue developing rugby in the country. The six-team tournament is an exciting challenge, not only for our players, but also for our rugby community.
“This competition for our A team, outside the international window, will help prepare new players and it’s another step to ensure strong competition for tier-two unions. We’d like to thank World Rugby for this great opportunity.”
World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge 2016 fixtures:
Saturday, 8 October:
12:30 - Argentina XV v Canada A
14:30 - USA Selects v Fiji Warriors
16:30 - Samoa A v Uruguay A
Wednesday, 12 October:
12:30 - Samoa A v Fiji Warriors
14:30 - USA Selects v Canada A
16:30 - Argentina XV v Uruguay A
Sunday, 16 October
12:30 - Samoa A v Canada A
14:30 - USA Selects v Uruguay A
16:30 - Argentina XV v Fiji Warriors