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Samoa and Fiji big winners in Pacific Challenge opener

Samoa’s Manuma and the Fiji Warriors have scored big wins in the opening round of the Pacific Challenge at Apia Park 3 May. Manuma trounced Tonga A 7 – 69 and Junior Japan went down to the Fiji Warriors 15 – 72.

The tournament is being played between 3-13 May across three match days in a round-robin format with each team playing three matches. The Pacific Challenge 2023 champions will be the team who records the maximum number of competition points across the tournament and the full match scheduled has been confirmed by the international federation.

The four teams involved from the Asia-Pacific region will be formed from the best locally-based players, with most promised of a bright future with their senior national team. Competition has been fierce at Apia Park between defending champions Junior Japan, Fiji Warriors and their record nine titles in the competition, Tonga A and Manuma Samoa looking for a third crown on home soil.

Pacific challenge Japan attack
Pacific challenge Japan attack

Junior Japan on the attack against the Fiji Warriors.

Each team’s squad of 28 players must consist of 23 players that are 23 years of age and under as of 3 May, 2023, while the remaining five players can be any age over 18. The tournament will allow future stars of the game in the region to develop their skills in a competitive environment against cross-border opposition.

Samoa is hosting the competing teams and their first international World Rugby tournament in 13 years, the last having been the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Apia in 2010. This year also marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between Samoa and Japan and their two senior teams will meet on 28 September at Rugby World Cup 2023 in France later this year.

Tonga A v Junior Japan
Manuma Samoa v Fiji Warriors

Fiji Warriors v Tonga A
Manuma Samoa v Junior Japan

Venue: Apia Park

Pacific Challenge Fiji try
Pacific Challenge Fiji try

Another Fiji Warriors try in their 72-15 victory over Junior Japan.