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The Rugby League International Federation yesterday endorsed and acknowledged South Pacific Brewery as the principal sponsor of the inaugural Pacific Cup in Port Moresby next month.

The SP Brewery Pacific Cup will see World Cup sides, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, plus the Cook Islands, battle it out for the chance to join the 2010 Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

With momentum continuing to build for the event on the international rugby league calendar, with yesterday’s announcement of a naming right sponsor will go a long way to ensuring the tournaments viability.

“SP Brewery is an iconic brand in PNG and a long time supporter of rugby league, so to have their support is a tremendous boost,” RLIF chairman Colin Love said.

“The Pacific Cup is set to lay the foundation for the future development of the game in PNG and its Pacific neighbours.

“SP Brewery committing their support is another positive step as we head towards the tournament’s kick-off next month,” Love said. SP Brewery has been a driving force in developing rugby league in PNG, highlighted by a 21-year commitment as naming rights sponsor for the country’s premier competition.

SP Brewery general manager Stan Joyce said the company was proud to be associated with the ongoing development of Pacific nations’ rugby league through its sponsorship of the 2009 Pacific Cup.

“This new and exciting competition to bring together the best league players in the Pacific region will definitely elevate the game and SP Brewery was excited to be part of this new concept,” Joyce said.

The three highest ranked Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have each had their place in the draw confirmed, whilst Samoa and Cook Islands will do battle for the remaining spot in a qualifying match in Cairns on October 17.

The four Pacific Cup matches will then be held at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby, over the weekends of October 24-25 and October 31, with the eventual final to be played on November 1.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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