Papua New Guinea will host the 2011 Oceania Cup. The Oceania Cup is an international rugby tournament among the island nations of Oceania. The participants this year will be American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Papua New Guinea are the reigning champions, though the tournament has not been held since 2009.
Rugby has become a major sport in Oceania, brought over by British colonists in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of the participants are still colonies or protectorates of the British, but even those that are independent or are colonies or protectorates of other nations have picked up the game of rugby. The sport fits in well with the tribal, warrior mentality common to the histories of many of these regions. In fact, many Oceanic teams perform a ritual haka or war dance before each game. These are always performed facing the other team and the custom itself if rooted in war. Prior to battle, each army would muster in formation and perform their tribe’s haka as a way to both psyche themselves up and to intimidate their opponents. The most famous of these modern hakas is that of the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. There is a fantastic video of it here, complete with subtitles and translations as the chant is done in the traditional Maori language.
If you’re interested in learning more about the sport of rugby, there’s a pretty straight-forward explanation available here. If you’re interested in going a little bit deeper, visit the International Rugby Board’s website for the complete rules and regulations of the sport.