April 30, 2021
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Oceania Men's Championship cancelled

Oceania Rugby has cancelled the 2021 Oceania Rugby Men’s Championship scheduled to take place from 18-26 June 2021.

The decision follows consultation with Papua New Guinea Rugby who were due to host the tournament.

Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Polynesian Rugby, and the Solomon Islands were all due to contest the title.

“The difficult but appropriate decision has been taken with the relevant government and public health authority advice and with the welfare of players, staff, and the public the top priority in the decision,” said Oceania Rugby Competitions Manger Wayne Schuster.

Papua New Guinea Rugby Union Chair Syd Yates said the cancellation of the tournament is obviously disappointing as the team and their fans were looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Port Moresby however, the current situation proved untenable.

“Papua New Guinea Rugby Union believes it is important to look after the welfare of everyone involved and supports this reasoning for the decision. We will now look ahead to the 2022 event.”

The Championship was due to serve as the Rugby World Cup 2023 Regional Qualification Tournament, with its winner due to challenge the runner-up of the Oceania 1 Play-off between Samoa and Tonga (July 2021) in the Asia / Pacific Qualifier.

With the event’s cancellation and the tight timeframe available to determine the region’s champion, the World Rugby rankings will be used to confirm the team progressing in the Rugby World Rugby 2023 qualification process.

Among the five teams that were due to compete at this year’s Oceana Rugby Men’s Championship, the Cook Islands are the highest ranked team (52nd) as of 27 April 2021 and will therefore progress to play in the Asia/Pacific Qualifier against either Samoa (14th) or Tonga (13th) on a date and location to be decided.

By Reginald Chandar

 


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