The legendary Grant Fox yesterday predicted that the next rugby superpower would come from one of the eight unions participating in the inaugural Pan Pacific Series which kicks off later this month. The former All Black fly-half, speaking at the launch of the Pan Pac Series yesterday in Hong Kong, said: 'By the turn of the century, one of the eight teams can become a superpower. This series can change the face of world rugby.' Argentina, Canada, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Tonga, Western Samoa and the United States will play in the first Pan Pac Series which starts on April 27.
'The tournament will provide dynamic rugby from a dynamic region,' added Fox who is the managing director of Carnegie Sports International, the company which is underwriting the tournament in the first year. Carnegie has been entrusted with finding sponsors for the event. With just over three weeks left before the tournament commences, Fox admitted that a title sponsor had still to be found. But he was confident that a backer would be found.
The cost of running the tournament in the first year is estimated to be US$2 million. All the costs will be borne by the organisers and any profits will be shared equally among all the eight unions. Bryan Williams, the chairman of Pan Pacific Series Ltd, said the series was born out a frustration among the Pacific Islands at being ignored by bigger nations. 'We were not included in the arrangement made between Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. But this has proved to be a blessing in disguise as it has forced our unions to guide our own destiny,' said Williams, who is also coach and manager of Western Samoa. A joint PLA and British Forces team were beaten 30-7 by UK side Kidderminster at Sek Kong yesterday.