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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada to face Japan in B.C. this summer as part of Pacific Nations Rugby Cup

TORONTO - Canada's rugby road map for 2014 is taking shape.

Rugby Canada announced Wednesday that the Canadian men will host Japan in an international rugby test June 7 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, B.C. The date of the matchup had already been announced but Rugby Canada did not confirm the site until Wednesday.

The match is part of a revamped Pacific Nations Cup that will see the 15th-ranked Canadians take on both No. 14 Japan and the No. 18 United States during the summer.

Canada will host No. 9 Scotland at Toronto's BMO Field on June 14. The Pacific Nations cup game against the U.S. will follow south of the border although no date or venue has been announced yet.

Canadian coach Kieran Crowley plans a trials match in B.C. a week before the first game in June so he can review the Canadian and overseas talent at his disposal.

Domestic-based players will take part in the Canadian Rugby Championship in the late summer with Crowley selecting the cream of the crop to represent Canada in the Americas Rugby Championship in the fall.

The Canadians will also have three test matches in November although Crowley said dates and opposition have yet to be determined.

"We've got the six games at the moment for this year," Crowley said Wednesday from Las Vegas where he is assisting the Canadian sevens team. "We'd obviously like a few more but it's (the difficulty of getting) games within the (international) windows."

Canada has already qualified for the 2015 World Cup, which opens in September 2015 in England, and hopes for a busier schedule next year in the leadup. The Canadians will play in Pool D with No. 5 France, No. 7 Ireland, No. 13 Italy and Europe 2.

The Pacific Nations Cup tournament is split into two pools this year, with Canada, Japan and the U.S. in one pool and Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in the other.

The pool winners will meet in November to decide the tournament winner. The pool runners-up will also play each other as will the third-place teams to decide final rankings.

Fiji and Canada both finished with 3-1-0 records at the Pacific Nations Cup in 2013 but the Pacific Islanders placed first by virtue of more bonus points. The 2013 event was a basic round-robin format.

Canada defeated Fiji 20-18 in Ottawa but lost 16-13 to Japan in its final tournament game.

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