The 2018 World Rugby U20 Championships will take place in France this summer.
Kicking off on the 30th May, the tournament will run to the final on the 17th June, with matches being played across thee venues, Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan, Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers, and the Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié in Narbonne.
There are three pools, each with four teams, and the Pool fixtures will take place on the 30th May, 3rd June, and 7th June. The top side from each pool plus the best runner up will reach the semi finals, the remaining two runners up and top two third placed sides will compete in the 5th-8th place semi finals, and the remaining teams will compete for 9th-12th place.
All of those semi final fixtures will take place on the 12th June, and the finals (for every position) will take place on the 17th.
Since its inception in 2008, the tournament has seen most of the world’s greats pass through at some point, as World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont pointed out at the announcement.
“The World Rugby U20 Championship is a proven finishing school for aspiring international players, with some of the biggest names in the game having graduated amongst a group of more than 550 internationals, including double World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Beauden Barrett.”
“Following the success of Georgia (last year), which broke all social media records, we are delighted to be heading to France and the rugby cities of Narbonne, Béziers and Perpignan. I am sure that the championship will capture the imagination and it will be fascinating to see who graduates to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.”
As Beaumont mentioned, last year’s tournament took place in Georgia. New Zealand were the champions beating England in the final to secure their 6th U20 World title, and their second in three years.
As champions, they are drawn in Pool A, where they will be joined by Australia, Wales, and Japan, who are promoted from the World Rugby U20 Trophy having won that this year. Samoa, who finished 12th in last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship, are relegated to the Trophy in their place.
Pool B features last year’s losing finalists, England who were featuring in their fifth straight final. England have won three of those five and will be hoping to do so again. Up against them in Pool B are their Calcutta Cup rivals, Scotland, who have enjoyed their best ever U20 World Championship results in the last two years. Also in the group are Italy and Argentina, making it a very tough one indeed.
The final group, Pool C, features the hosts nation, France. France finished fourth last year, and the side that beat them in that 3rd place play off, 2012 champions South Africa, are also in Pool C. Alongside them are the 2016 finalists, Ireland, as well as last year’s hosts, Georgia.
Commenting on the tournament being awarded to France, FFR President Bernard Laporte said:
“We are honoured to be hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship, which plays an important role in the international development of the sport. It is a proven developer of young talent and players who graduate from France 2018 will go on to compete at the highest-level at future Rugby World Cups, including 2023 in France.”
|2018 World Rugby U20 Championship Pools|
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C|
|New Zealand||England||South Africa|
Pool Game 1: Wednesday 30th May
Pool Game 2: Sunday 3rd June
Pool Game 3: Thursday 7th June
Semi Finals: Tuesday 12th June
Finals: Sunday 17th June