Georgia to host Junior World Rugby Trophy

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 15 December 2010
 
 Georgia to host Junior World Rugby Trophy
L-R: GRU Head of International Department Lasha Khurtsidze, Philippe Bourdarias, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Lado Vardzelashvili, GRU President George Nijaradze and Deputy Minister Davit Namgalauri. Photo: Tamar Kulumbegashvili

The International Rugby Board has confirmed that Georgia will host the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011 from May 24 to June 5. 

It is the first time that the hosting rights to a major IRB tournament have been awarded to the Georgian Rugby Union and the selection underlines the outstanding progress that the Union has made in driving the development of the Game throughout the country since Rugby World Cup 2007.

The tournament format will follow the model that successfully delivered a compelling Trophy in 2010. The eight participating teams will be split into two pools of four with two match venues in the capital Tbilisi hosting double-headers on May 24, May 28, June 1 and June 5.

Canada, Japan, Russia, Samoa, Uruguay, USA, Zimbabwe and hosts Georgia will all be looking to lift the coveted Trophy and secure promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012.

“The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy has grown to become a major fixture on the annual Rugby calendar, providing the participating Unions with an invaluable competition and development platform. Yet the tournament is not all about exposure for the teams, it is also about taking a major international Rugby tournament to new territories, to leave an administration legacy with the hosting Union and to deliver a golden opportunity to grow the Game,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“I am delighted that the Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011 will be hosted in Georgia and would like to thank the Georgian Rugby Union for their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to hosting a tournament that will not just be successful on the pitch, but will leave a lasting legacy for growth and participation off it.”

For Georgia, the awarding of the international tournament is a ground-breaking move and will deliver the platform for the sport to continue to grow – a trend that began with the senior national team’s performances during Rugby World Cup 2007 in France which captured the hearts of the nation.

Last month Lapasset was in Georgia to open the IRB funded state-of-the-art National Academy, a centre that will oversee the development of future international stars, while the Georgian Government has committed £6 million in funding for the growth of Rugby across the country.

“These are certainly exciting times for Rugby in Georgia, which is enjoying unprecedented interest off the back of a tremendous Rugby World Cup 2007 and a successful Rugby World Cup 2011 qualifying campaign. Hosting the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy next year will further accelerate development, administration and legacy programmes,” added Lapasset.

Georgian Rugby Union President George Nijaradze said: “This is a very exciting time for Rugby in Georgia with Rugby World Cup qualification secured for a third successive tournament creating huge interest in the country’s number one team sport. Government and IRB funding have provided two Rugby Academies in Tbilisi and Kutaisi where age grade players can get advice on conditioning, nutrition and professional sport as part of our Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD)."

"We are very pleased to host a major tournament as part of our ongoing development and look forward to welcoming the eight teams here next summer for a wonderful festival of age grade Rugby.”

IRB Tournaments Manager Philippe Bourdarias, in Tbilisi for the official launch, added: “Georgia is a wonderful setting for this key tournament which is essential for the development of players, coaches and match officials. With just 160 days to go until the tournament starts, it is shaping up to be the most competitive IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy to date and has the added incentive of being a little under four months before Rugby World Cup 2011.”

“I am sure the Georgian Rugby Union will deliver a unique festival of Rugby that will help spread awareness and interest in the Game throughout the country, attracting new players, coaches, referees and fans to the Rugby family.”

The venues, pools and match schedule will be confirmed in January 2011.

Italy won the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2010 and were promoted to the IRB Junior World Championship 2011 which they will host in the Veneto Region. The Azzurri have already given full international caps to players who won the title, including the exciting outside centre and captain Tommaso Benvenuti who made his full Test debut against Argentina in November.

Benvenuti joins an illustrious list of players and match officials who have graduated from both the IRB Junior World Championship and IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy to full international test status.