Pan Pacific Rugby Series Schedule Announced: US Dates Remain Tentative
(Berkeley, California) 26 January 1996 -- On January 24, Pan Pacific Rugby Series organizers released fixture dates for a new eight-team championship, which includes the United States, Canada, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong, Tonga, Fiji, and Western Samoa. The US schedule remains tentative, but may soon be finalized.

Expectations run high for the event, which progresses from a round-robin to semifinals on July 20-21 and a championship match on July 28. "The Northern Hemisphere has the Five Nations, the Southern Hemisphere has the Tri-Series and the Super 12, and now the Pan Pacific has created a meaningful competition for the rugby nations of the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas," enthused Bryan Williams, coach of Western Samoa. "They will now have control over their own destinies, rather than having to rely on the scraps of other major rugby-playing nations."

The US knows exactly what Williams is talking about, for having narrowly missed qualifying for the 1995 World Cup, the Eagles found that potential opponents were unwilling to arrange tests. Also, there remains the refusal of the "home unions" to play stopover matches while en route to or from the Southern hemisphere.

Thus the US managed to take the field just once last year, in September, when it posted a 15-14 victory against Canada in Toronto. Should the details be worked out, however, the team can look forward to a slew of contests against teams similar to the Eagles' caliber.

Being tentative, the US venue remains undetermined. The schedule:

April 27 Fiji Home
May 7 Argentina Home
May 11 Tonga Home
May 18 Canada Home
June 9 Hong Kong Hong Kong
June 16 Japan Tokyo
June 22 Western Samoa Apia