THE Flying Fijians will host Japan in its opening match of the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup competition.
The new-look competition which includes Canada and the United States will be played from May 25 to June 23 in Fiji, Canada, US and Japan.
Fiji will play Japan on June 1. However, the venue is yet to be confirmed according to the fixtures released yesterday by the International Rugby Board.
Japan will host the finale to the IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2013 with double-headers on the final two match days as excitement continues to build ahead of the nation's hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Defending champions Samoa will play in a quadrangular competition in South Africa in June against the Springboks, Scotland and Italy after being ranked as the top Tier Two union last year.
IRB head of development and performance Mark Egan said the IRB had a long-term commitment through the strategic plan to create greater levels of quality Test competition for Tier Two nations to boost the competitiveness of the world game and Rugby World Cup.
He said they had invested about £10 million per annum in tournaments and high performance programs for targeted group of strategic initiative unions.
"The inclusion of Canada and USA in a new-look IRB Pacific Nations Cup is a key outcome of continued consultation with our unions to deliver a schedule that suits their high performance programs. It also provides an opportunity to benchmark performances two years out from Rugby World Cup 2015 in England," he told irb.com."
Saturday, 25 May - Japan v Tonga in Japan; Canada v USA in Canada
Saturday, 1 June - Fiji v Japan in Japan
Wednesday, 5 June - Fiji v Canada in Canada
Saturday 8 June - Canada v Tonga in Canada
Saturday, 15 June - USA v Tonga in USA
Wednesday, 19 June - Japan v Canada in Japan; Fiji v USA in Japan
Sunday, 23 June - Japan v USA in Japan; Tonga v Fiji in Japan