- NBC appointed Broadcast Partner
- Planning and preparation on track
- Murray Rugby Park Stadium named host venue
With 100 days to go until the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 gets underway in Salt Lake City, the venue, pools and match schedule have been announced for the key international Age Grade tournament.
The showcase IRB Fifteens tournament will see Murray Rugby Park Stadium take centre stage, hosting four back-to-back matches across the four match days, kicking off on Monday, June 18.
Reflecting the strong collaboration between USA Rugby, the IRB and Rugby World Cup 2011 rights holding broadcaster NBC Sports, the tournament will enjoy full coverage via www.usarugby.org with all 16 matches being streamed live.
The hosts will face pre-tournament favourites Tonga on the opening day, but not before Japan, who have finished runners-up for the past two years, take on the hugely improved Zimbabwe, Chile face Russia and Georgia play Canada in the eight-team event.
The format will see the winners of the two pools face each other in the Final on Saturday, June 30 to claim the title and with it promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.
Pool A: Tonga, Chile, Russia, USA
Pool B: Japan, Georgia, Canada, Zimbabwe
VIEW THE FULL MATCH SCHEDULE >>
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the US and therefore it is wholly appropriate that one of our flagship events should be hosted by a country that has a huge appetite and enthusiasm for the sport. I am sure that Salt Lake City will be exceptional hosts and that USA Rugby will maximise the potential of this event to further boost awareness and participation.”
“The single venue format together with some hugely anticipated matches, including the USA in action against Russia and Tonga, plus the live streaming of all matches will ensure continued exposure for a sport which is rapidly capturing hearts and minds.”
Preparations are on track with tournament organisers anticipating huge interest in a sport which continues to gain significant momentum in one of the world's major markets, particularly following the decision to admit Rugby Sevens to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“Salt Lake City is gearing itself up for a wonderful tournament and the opportunity to showcase the Game across the country, with high-quality Rugby and some of the best young players in the world on show,” said Nigel Melville, USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations.
“This region is a hotbed of Rugby in the US, with the Game expanding in schools, high schools and through strategic college programmes. We expect thousands of fans to embrace the chance to see elite Rugby and cheer on the USA team, and teams such as Tonga will also be well supported by the local population.”
The tournament will aim to exceed the record-breaking event in Georgia last year, and provide compelling and entertaining Rugby while leaving a lasting legacy for the Game in the host nation. Russia’s Denis Simplikevich became one of the latest of more than 80 JWRT graduates to grace the world stage when he made his Test debut at Rugby World Cup 2011.
Sevens star Tai Enosa plus Scott LaValla and Shawn Pittman, who have represented the Eagles at Fifteens, also cut their teeth on the world stage at IRB Age Grade tournaments.