• Romania set to host IRB Nations Cup 2012
• Six Nations look to lift the trophy for the first time
• Tournament key to increasing international competition for Tier 2 nations
A new name will be etched on the IRB Nations Cup in 2012 as Unions from Europe are joined by South America’s emerging talent in the six-team tournament which kicks off on Friday, June 8.
The popular IRB-funded event, which provides a highly competitive player development and competition pathway for participating Unions, will again be hosted at the Arcul de Triumf national stadium in Bucharest, Romania.
Six nations will be looking to lift the coveted trophy with hosts Romania, Russia and Portugal joined by Uruguay, the Argentina Jaguars and Emerging Italy for what promises to be one of the most competitive Nations Cup's to date.
Fans can enjoy triple-header match days on June 8, 12 and 17.
“The IRB is committed to growing and developing Rugby around the world and central to that strategic aim is to provide Tier 2 and Tier 3 Unions with an expanded and competitive international competition calendar. The IRB Nations Cup has been central to that objective,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“Coupled with the 10-year IRB tours schedule in the June and November windows and other IRB funded competitions such as the Pacific Nations Cup, Pacific Rugby Cup, Americas Rugby Championship and increased standalone Tier 2 IRB ranking Test matches, there is now unprecedented competition for these Unions as they begin the process of building towards RWC 2015 in England.”
“We saw at Rugby World Cup 2011 how these nations are closing the gap on Tier 1 teams, with Russia securing their first World Cup point and scoring three tries against both Australia and Italy. Elite competition such as the IRB Nations Cup ensures a more competitive global Rugby playing field, and is crucial to maintaining the long term competitiveness of the Rugby World Cup itself.”
With Rugby World Cup qualification underway, the participating teams have already begun building towards England 2015 as Russia seek a place at their second successive tournament and Romania aim to preserve their ever-present record. For Uruguay and Portugal, who narrowly missed out on Rugby World Cup 2011 via the global qualification route, the Nations Cup will provide an opportunity to test themselves against teams from different continents.
The IRB is also providing funding to assist Georgia’s previously announced June tour to North America where they will play Test matches against USA at Infinity Park, Glendale, on June 16 and Canada at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, on June 23.