Scene set for an exciting Junior Trophy

(IRB.COM) Friday 13 May 2011
 
 Scene set for an exciting Junior Trophy
Who will succeed Italy as Junior World Rugby Trophy champions?

With just over two weeks to go until the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy kicks off in Georgia, tournament organisers are anticipating an outstanding tournament in a country where Rugby is now established as the national sport.

Preparations are drawing to a close, the teams have all announced their squads and there is a buzz throughout Tbilisi that the first ever IRB Tournament to be hosted in the country is certainly the place to be from 24 May to 5 June.

“There is no doubt that Georgia will deliver a fantastic IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, who will visit Tbilisi during the tournament.

“The Georgians love Rugby, they are proud to be hosting this important age grade event and I am sure that they will turn out in force to cheer on their team and all the other participating nations.”

Number one sport

Georgia’s exploits at the very highest level – the senior team has participated at every Rugby World Cup since 2003 – has seen Rugby’s popularity catapulted to new levels.
Last year it was announced that Rugby had surpassed football in terms of popularity and the Government was committed to making it their national sport.

Indeed the Government has been one of the biggest supporters of Rugby in Georgia and are committed to doing all that they can to ensure that Georgia hits the heights in fifteens and also in Sevens with Rugby set to make its Olympic Games debut in 2016.

Fans attending the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011 will see tangible evidence of Government’s £6 million investment first hand, while a state-of-the-art IRB funded National Academy, which features an artificial pitch, is already nurturing the development of future international stars.

“These are certainly exciting times for Rugby in Georgia,” added Lapasset. “There has been unprecedented interest off the back of a tremendous Rugby World Cup 2007 and a successful Rugby World Cup 2011 qualifying campaign.

Fantastic matches


“Hosting the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy this year will further accelerate development, administration and legacy programmes.”

On the pitch, the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy has gone from strength to strength, increasing in standard and competitiveness with each of the participating teams gunning to claim promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship.

It would be a brave person to predict the eventual winners from a truly global line-up representing all six IRB Regions. Samoa, Japan, Georgia and USA might start as slight favourites, but all the teams have age grade pedigree. It is too close to call.

IRB Tournaments Manager Philippe Bourdarias explained: “It is shaping up to be the most competitive IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy to date. Each year we see the tournament taking big steps forward and I am sure that fans attending will be treated to some fantastic matches.”

Live streaming

“Our goal is to provide a competitive environment for international teams to access high-level competition and for players to hone their skills as they make the transition from youth to senior Rugby.

“I am sure that we will be watching some of the future stars of Rugby World Cup.”

The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011 kicks off in Tbilisi on 24 May with matches at the Avchala Stadium and the Shevardeni Stadium, three of them live and on-demand on the tournament's official website, www.irb.com/jwrt.

In total 12 matches will be streamed, all those taking place at the Avchala Stadium. This is the second time in the Junior World Rugby Trophy's history that live streaming is available, having first been offered at the 2009 tournament in Kenya.

VIEW THE MATCHES TO BE STREAMED LIVE >>


The champions will be crowned on 5 June, but after two weeks of televised international Rugby, legacy programmes and a platform to grow the sport, it is Georgian Rugby who will be the real winners.