Players from eight of the 16 teams in the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship will dream tonight of lifting the trophy. By the time they go to bed on Saturday evening, that number will be cut in half following the crucial last round of pool matches.
In effect, the four matches pitting the top two in each pool after two rounds are knockout contests. Win and you qualify for the semi-finals. Lose and the best you can finish is fifth in the final standings.
In Pool A, New Zealand will start as favourites against Argentina, while South Africa will find themselves in the same position against Samoa in Pool B. Pool C and Pool D appear to be more difficult to call. Australia and England have both impressed during their opening two games in Pool C, while Wales and France have both shown flashes of brilliance in their two Pool D matches.
Avoiding the drop
But it is not just the teams at the top of each pool who have much to play for. For those in the bottom two places the threat of relegation from this tournament to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy next year is still a possibility. If they lose their next two games, their final match will be a play-off to avoid finishing 16th.
How do you determine the higher ranked team?
If, due to the result of any of the matches on Saturday, the teams finish on the same number of tournament points, their position will be determined by the following criteria, until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:
(i) The winner of the Match in which the two tied Teams have played each other shall be the higher ranked;
(ii) The Team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
(iii) The Team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
(iv) The Team which has scored most points in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
(v) The Team which has scored most tries in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
(vi) If none of the above produce a result, then it will be resolved with a toss of a coin.
The squads for all 16 teams have now been announced for what promises to be a dramatic day of action, from which we will bring you all the latest news, results and knockout match information on the official IRB Junior World Championship website.