Future stars set to shine at JWC 2013

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 5 June 2013
 Future stars set to shine at JWC 2013
Will New Zealand Under 20 captain Ardie Savea follow in the footsteps of his brother Julian and go from the Junior World Championship to the Test arena?

Over the next two and a half weeks players from 12 nations will be looking to stake a claim for a place at Rugby World Cup 2015 as the future stars of the Game take to the field at the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.

As far as finishing schools go, the Junior World Championship, which was first held in 2008, is one of the best. To date 212 players have gone on to represent their nation on the Test stage.

The long list of graduates reads like a who's who of Rugby stars with British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, Australia aces David Pocock and Will Genia, England's Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell, France's Mathieu Bastareaud, South Africa's Francois Hougaard and New Zealand's Aaron Cruden and Sam Whitelock to name but a few.

The country to cap the most JWC graduates is Argentina (41) with Australia (19), Wales (16), Samoa (16) and Scotland (14) rounding out the top five.

JWC 2013, which kicks off on Wednesday, acts as a finishing school for the 336 players, as well as the coaches and match officials, off the field too. Workshops and seminars on important topics such as Anti-Doping, integrity and player welfare are all part of the learning process for the class of 2013.

However, it is the action on the field that has made this annual event so popular with players, fans and media. Open, attacking Rugby to the fore, the matches are highly competitive with players encouraged to showcase their talents. Tries are aplenty with 165 scored last year alone.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "We are really proud of the IRB Junior World Championship and its sister IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy, which is currently taking place in Chile. They both play a massive role in promoting Rugby's character-building values on and off the field."

"The events deliver a winning blend of exciting, competitive action, packaged within a highly attractive ticketing policy that is designed to attract new fans, re-engage those who may not be regular attendees and inspire future participation. France 2013 will undoubtedly reach new communities, fans and players."

"For the IRB, the parallel events represent the perfect opportunity to educate the future stars of Rugby in the matters that are central to all sports, the fight against doping, preserving integrity and ensuring player welfare is paramount."

The action kicks off on Wednesday with hosts France tackling England and defending champions South Africa facing IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 champions USA in La Roche-sur-Yon, Australia face Ireland and four-time winners New Zealand meet Fiji in Vannes, while Wales tackle Samoa and Argentina face Scotland in Nantes.

Seventeen matches will be streamed live on the IRB website during the Junior World Championship ... click here for more information on which matches and where you can also watch the tournament on television around the world.