Less than 100 days to go to #JWC2014

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 26 February 2014
 
 Less than 100 days to go to #JWC2014
The #JWC2014 final will be held in Eden Park on 20 June

On 2 June the seventh edition of the IRB Junior World Championship will kick off in New Zealand, with the Rugby World Cup 2011 hosts welcoming what is their first major age-grade tournament.

New Zealand, the four time winners of the Junior World Championship from 2008 to 2011, haven't won in the last two years, but they have tasted success in other forms thanks to the long-term benefits of the tournament.

The 2011 team that beat England 33-22 in the final in Italy featured the likes of Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick, Steven Luatua, Beauden Barrett, Francis Saili, Charles Piutau, Dominic Bird and Luke Whitelock.

This is indicative of how steady a stream of players graduate to Test level.

It was in 2011 that Australian Rod Davies became the 100th player from the IRB Junior World Championship to enter the international arena, joining the likes of Quade Cooper, Sam Warburton, Courtney Lawes, Pat Lambie, Will Genia, David Pocock and Leigh Halfpenny.

The strategies of this tournament have taken a step up as well, with the players emulating the high performance environments of their respective countries, something that the IRB and Unions insist on to ensure that Under 20s have the right grounding for Test rugby.

And so far, the numbers appear to be working.

The number of graduates now number just under 280, while 17 of the All Blacks that featured in 2013's perfect year cut their teeth at Junior World Championship level.

WATCH: IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 PROMO

IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias is expecting a record-setting event.

“This tournament will be the best Junior World Championship ever organised,” he said.

“It is a key event in the rugby calendar around the world. For the IRB it’s very important, it’s a large investment and a huge opportunity.

“It’s not every day that a tournament like this comes to your neighbourhood. These teams are Under 20, but they are the future stars of world rugby.”

The tournament, featuring the best Under 20 players in the world from 12 countries, will play a total of 30 matches from 2-20 June.

With so many players have made the step up since the competition began in 2008, it means that while some names may be unknown from the dozen nations, a significant number of them will be Test representatives in the years to come.

Tickets go on sale in March, and will be priced as low as $5 for children. A family of four can attend all three pool matches at one venue on each match day from as little as $30.

The Pukekohe Stadium and North Harbour Stadium will host the action throughout the month, with the final scheduled for Eden Park on 20 June.