The International Rugby Board has announced that France has been awarded the right to host the IRB Junior World Championship in 2013.
The announcement is a further boost to Rugby’s premier age grade event and comes just five days after New Zealand defeated England in a pulsating final of a record-breaking 2011 Championship in Italy.
The Championship captured the hearts and minds of the Italian public with capacity crowds turning out to watch 30 matches that pitted the world's best players at Under 20 level against international opposition in a competition that is a proven springboard to the Test arena.
With the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 taking place in South Africa, the awarding of the 2013 event to France underlines the IRB’s commitment to a long-term hosting strategy which enables the Host Union to maximise event and legacy benefits geared towards delivering a world class Championship and boosting participation.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset made the announcement at a special media launch at Versailles attended by stars of the Game past, present and future.
Delivering an outstanding tournament
The International Rugby Board is delighted to be awarding France the right to host the IRB Junior World Championship in 2013,” said Lapasset.
“The Fédération Française de Rugby, with its considerable major event hosting experience, is perfectly positioned to not only deliver an outstanding showcase for the future stars of world Rugby, but also a platform for Rugby to continue to reach out to new audiences and participants across France.
“With France also having been awarded Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, this announcement underlines the appetite for hosting major international Rugby events following the tremendous success of Rugby World Cup 2007. I am sure that both events will be tremendously successful.”
FFR President Pierre Camou added: “The Fédération Française de Rugby is proud to have been selected to host the IRB Junior World Championship in 2013. We have two years to deliver an outstanding event that will provide magnificent competition and a base from which to attract more young participants to Rugby in France. We are also proud that the IRB has shown confidence in our capacity to take up the challenge of hosting major international events.”
Since the IRB Junior World Championship began in 2008 almost 100 players have progressed to win full Test caps for their countries, underscoring its significant development role. Many of the players on show in Italy look set to follow the likes of Mathieu Bastareaud, Benjamin Fall and Wencelas Lauret for France, and other graduates including David Pocock, Patrick Lambie, Courtney Lawes and Zac Guildford to Test stardom.
Video: JWC 2013 Promo
Mark Egan, IRB Head of Development and Performance: "The Junior World Championship plays a very important part in the development pathway of unions all around the world. The purpose of the tournament is to provide that international platform for unions to give their young players a chance to put on the national team jersey and represent their country at an age grade level.
"It also provides an international platform to promote the development of the game worldwide. It is important we have a pathway for all our unions to get to the Junior World Championship. We have a regional tournament structure that underpins the Junior World Rugby Trohpy and there is relegation and promotion between Junior World Championship and Junior World Rugby Trophy.
"It is allowing unions to build programmes around the tournament infrastructure itself and to also identify players who can go on to represent their countries in Rugby World Cups and to set players on their path to have a professional career in rugby as well.
"The tournaments are now organised to a very high standard. There are high expectations from the players and the coaches. A lot of the coaches are full time in their unions and the players are already playing professional rugby so there is high expectations. We want to run a world class event, our host unions want to run a world class event so the planning and preparation is crucial."
Philippe Bourdarias, JWC Tournament Director: "For the FFR it is a sign they are sending of their will to develop rugby. It is a huge opportunity for them to have these two major IRB events back to back in France. We all know about the success of the JWC, it is going from strength to strength and we have just had a very successful tournament in Italy.
Next year we are going to South Africa and I think France is the right place to embrace the challenge to match the criteria and standard set by Italy and South Africa."