IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy launched
By Frankie Deges
With every team now in Santiago, the inaugural IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy was officially launched on Friday by new FERUCHI Chairman Alastair MacGregor. The eight participating teams are now fully focused on their first round matches scheduled for Tuesday 15 April.
“It is a real honour to be welcoming seven nations to our country. We are looking forward to two weeks of wonderful rugby action,” said MacGregor at the launch staged at the Stade Français Club, in the heart of the Chilean capital.
Eight nations will compete over two rounds for the new trophy and the chance to play in the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship; 16 matches that will see the talents of players from different corners of the world – Uruguay and Chile from South America, Jamaica from NAWIRA, Korea from Asia, the Cook Islands from Oceania, Romania and Georgia from Europe and Namibia from Africa.
Attending the gathering was Jaime Pizarro, Chilean National Sports Minister. “Our government is keen to support sports in our country and this Junior World Rugby Trophy is very important for us and has all of our support,” he said.
Philippe Bourdarias, IRB Tournament Director, added that “this tournament meets the objectives of offering the participating nations the opportunity of playing at the highest level. It also offers an incredible, outstanding, development platform for the region.”
As much as this will be an ideal opportunity for aspiring young players, there are a number of initiatives that will complement the tournament, such as a Judicial Workshop and a Train the Trainers Course for regional unions.
Every player involved in the tournament attended an anti-doping seminar, hosted by the IRB’s Anti-doping Coordinator Ilaria Baudo, in which they were educated about a global view on the anti-doping procedures and the IRB zero-tolerance with regards to this matter. As part of the programme, later in the tournament, there will be a Keep Rugby Clean Day in which every team will wear specific t-shirts to show their commitment to keeping rugby clean.