With just days to go until the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 kicks off in France, the future stars of world Rugby today lined up for the official tournament launch in Nantes.
The 12 teams are now settled at their bases in Nantes, Vannes and La Roche-sur-Yon in north-west France with the scene set for a thrilling event, and all captains have their sights on lifting the coveted trophy.
Building on last year's record breaking tournament in South Africa, the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 will be beamed to almost 317 million homes around the world, in 184 countries, a record broadcast for the competition, which is now in its sixth year.
This will account for more than 280 hours of broadcast time during the prestigious Under 20 tournament.
Seventeen matches will also be streamed live on www.irb.com.
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IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Talking to the captains this afternoon, you get a sense of just how exciting this year's tournament is going to be. There are some mouth-watering matches in store and personally I can't wait to see France take on England in "Le Crunch" at La Roche-sur-Yon on Wednesday."
"These players have an excellent opportunity at this tournement, and it's up to them to grasp it with both hands. The scene is set, the preparations are in place and now it's just all down the players to give it their best."
Fédération Française du Rugby President Pierre Camou added: "The FFR is proud to organise the IRB Junior World Championship as being the host of such event is a sign of confidence from the International Rugby Board. I know the committees of Pays de Loire and Brittany have the ability to succeed in the face of this challenge and promote the Game in their territory with this competition."
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Spread over five match days, the action will take place with a series of double headers in Nantes, La Roche-sur-Yon and Vannes, with the final taking place on June 23 in Vannes.
For the players, the IRB Junior World Championship not only delivers an opportunity to test themselves against the cream of their generation, but it also provides an invaluable development and educational platform to prepare them for the future.
Since 2008, the IRB Junior World Championship has provided the springboard for more than 200 players to graduate to the Test arena, including 2013 British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, and Rugby World Cup 2011 winners Aaron Cruden, Sam Whitelock and Zac Guildford.
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