Tonga face a tough pool at JWRT with Japan, Uruguay and Canada their opponents
The International Rugby Board has today announced the pools and match schedule for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2013 in Antofagasta, Chile from May 28 to June 9.
Eight teams will participate in this year’s tournament, hosts Chile, Canada, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Tonga and Uruguay.
The Under 20 tournament format will be the same as in previous years, with two pools of four teams. The winners of the two pools face each other in the final on Sunday, June 9 to claim the title and with it promotion to the premier age grade tournament, the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand.
Pool A sees the hosts Chile drawn with former winners Italy who will return to the Trophy after being relegated from last year’s IRB Junior World Championship. Namibia, who haven’t played in the tournament since 2009, and debutants Portugal are the other two teams in this competitive pool.
Three-time runners-up Japan, Tonga, Canada and inaugural champions Uruguay will make up Pool B.
Chile will face Portugal on the opening day, but not before Japan, take on the other South American team in the competition, Uruguay. Tonga face Canada on the same day, while Namibia face Italy.
The first IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy was held in Santiago, Chile in 2008 and IRB Tournament Director Santiago Ramallo said preparations are on track for an even better tournament five years on.
“Anticipation for the tournament is building, not only in Chile but also in South America. Organisers in Antofagasta are predicting huge interest in the competition, especially as Rugby continues to gain significant momentum in one of the world’s major markets, particularly following the decision to admit Rugby Sevens to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” said Ramallo.
“It’s a really great opportunity to build on the massive success of the inaugural event in 2008, as the Game has significantly developed in Chile since then.”
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The tournament is growing every year and with the participation of teams such as Italy, Canada, Japan and Tonga, who have played in several IRB Junior World Championships in the past, makes for a very exiting Rugby event for the fans.”
“It’s a great opportunity for the sport and the players in the region. Antofagasta has all the elements to host this great international event, characterised by the warmth and friendliness of the people there. I have no doubt they will show to the whole world their passion for the Game, and that the thousands of people who travel to the area will experience the best matches.”
The match days of the tournament will be May 28, June 1, 5 and 9 and all games will take place at the Circuito Deportivo Ciudad de Antofagasta.