Pacific teams

Pacific Nations teams push for more home Tests

The success of last year's tournament across Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand has opened the door for international games to be showcased in a similar way to the NRL taking clashes to regional areas in Australia throughout 2018.

The annual mid-season Pacific Tests, which have been played since 2013, have been based in Sydney's west for the last five years – an agreement that will continue next season.

Pacific sides seeking improvement at Hamilton 7s

The Olympic champions finished top of their pool at last weekend's Sydney tournament, including wins over Samoa and New Zealand.

But their title hopes were ended with a 24-7 defeat by the USA in the Cup quarter final, before the All Blacks Sevens cruised to a 31-7 victory in the playoff for fifth place.

Gareth Baber said they weren't good enough when it mattered, with kick-offs an area that needs some work.

Pacific teams target winning finish to AFL International Cup

In the men's draw, Nauru are chasing a third straight win against in the fifth place playoff against Great Britain, while Fiji are guaranteed to improve on their 10th place finish three years ago when they face Canada in the playoff for seventh spot.

Meanwhile it's an all-Pacific affair in the women's competition, with the Papua New Guinea Flames and Fiji playing off for fifth place.

PNG didn't compete at the last International Cup and tour manager Peter Harrison was expecting the Fijians to provide a stern challenge.

FIFA rankings reflect competitive year

2016 OFC Nation’s Cup runners-up Papua New Guinea have moved up the rankings three places to 159 taking them to second place in the regional rankings and moving them much closer to their Kiwi rivals.

Their current ranking is the highest the nation has ever been positioned, surpassing their 2004 ranking of 161. The side has flourished under Danish coach Flemming Serritslev making the final of the OFC Nations Cup for the first time in their history, and their place at 159th reinforces the successes the nation has had over the past 12 months.

Hong Kong 7s a crucial marker for Pacific teams

Twenty eight teams are in town for the latest stop on the World Series, with 16 competing in the main draw and 12 hoping to secure a permanent berth on next year's circuit by winning the core-team qualifier.

Fiji will be defending both the Hong Kong title and their lead in the World Series this weekend.