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New Cup of Nations tournament confirmed

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James Mortimer     06 Nov 2011     Getty Images

The new tournament, fully endorsed by the International Rugby Board (IRB), will be a cross border/continental competition featuring teams from three continents, with Kenya and Brazil joining Hong Kong and UAE as participants.

The inaugural Cup of Nations will begin in Dubai this December, taking place for a week from December 9 to 16 after the IRB World Sevens Series leg in the Middle East.

The IRB identified that the teams could benefit from extra competition to allow them to prepare for senior tournaments such as the Rugby World Cup, and Trevor Gregory, Chairman of the HKRFU, said it would enhance the long term future of the teams.

"We are delighted to be participating in the inaugural Emirates Airlines Cup of Nations in Dubai. The competition against Kenya, Brazil and the UAE will further improve our preparations for the HSBC Asian Five Nations and the upcoming qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2015," he said.

"It is increasingly vital that teams get as much exposure to high-level test rugby as possible and the intensity of the competition, which will see each team play three matches within a week, will prove important in competitions later on in the year.”

Mark Egan, IRB's Head of Development and Performance, said the competition would grow, and was excited to see the potential of Brazil.

"The IRB is happy to support this excellent initiative by the UAERA and HKRFU,” he said.

"Cross Regional competition between nations of a similar IRB ranking will allow us to benchmark these unions against each other and see how they are progressing. We are particularly excited to see Brazil participating as this is a targeted union within the IRB strategic investment programme and we are already beginning to see improved international performances from both their sevens and fifteens programmes."