The International Rugby Board has confirmed that Russia will host the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2010. The tournament, which is a key element of the IRB's Age Grade strategy for Under 20 players, will take place in the capital Moscow from May 18 to 30.
"We are delighted to announce that the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy will be going to Russia next year. The Rugby Union Of Russia is making excellent progress in growing participation and popularity across the country, with the implementation of professional leagues and a strong community game structure," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
The Rugby Union of Russia is one of eight nations to have expressed a formal interest to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013. Today's announcement is another important step in the process of growing the Game domestically at a time when the men's senior national team remain on target to qualify for a first ever Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand.
"This will be the first IRB tournament held in Russia and also very significantly our first major 15-a-side tournament. It gives us the opportunity to showcase high quality international Rugby to the Russian public and develop key legacy schemes designed to attract more young people to the Game," said Rugby Union of Russia President Vyacheslav Kopiev.
"It also gives our Under 20 team a chance to progress and test themselves on a global stage, which is extremely exciting. Moscow is a magnificent city and a great sports capital, any player or spectator coming here will thoroughly enjoy themselves."
The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy combines with its sister tournament, the IRB Junior World Championship, to provide talented young players and Unions with annual international competition and a dedicated performance and development pathway, while providing emerging Unions with invaluable major tournament hosting experience and a lasting Rugby legacy.
The 2009 Trophy in Kenya was a resounding success, providing a significant boost to the Game in the African country through a dedicated legacy programme that featured a schools Tag Rugby initiative that will reach out to over 100,000 children by 2012.
The global qualification process for the 2010 tournament is now complete after Italy secured their place by beating Georgia in the European Under 19 Championship final in Portugal last month.
Italy will join hosts Russia, defending champions Romania and other regional qualifiers Zimbabwe (Africa), Papua New Guinea (Oceania), 2008 winners Uruguay (South America), Japan (Asia) and Canada (North America) in the eight-team event.
"The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2010 promises to be the most competitive to date. The global qualification process highlighted the increased levels of competition across each Region and with champions Romania, Japan, Italy and of course hosts Russia participating, it will be a hugely exciting tournament," said IRB Tournaments Manager Philippe Bourdarias.