JWRT set to kick off in Salt Lake City

(IRB.COM) Friday 15 June 2012
 JWRT set to kick off in Salt Lake City
Team captains at the JWRT 2012 pose for photos at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City

The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 kicks off in Salt Lake City, USA, on Monday, June 18, with eight teams from six Regions gathering in the Utah capital. Each is seeking to win the trophy and thereby be promoted to next year’s IRB Junior World Championship in France, the world’s premier age-grade Rugby tournament.

While tournament organisers are expecting passionate home support as USA faces a tough opener against Tonga at Murray Rugby Park, don’t be surprised if the Pacific Islanders bring their own fans as there is a sizable Polynesian community locally making for what should be a great atmosphere in the 4,000-capacity venue.

The quadruple-header match action at the ground kicks off at midday with Japan taking on Zimbabwe before Chile plays Russia and Georgia faces Canada. It will be a festival of high-class Rugby with spectators receiving astonishing value for their match ticket price of just US$5.

At today’s media launch, IRB Tournament Director Tom Jones said he was looking forward to the start.

“The JWRT is a wonderful opportunity for young players from all over the globe to bring their skills to the attention of the world. The experience of being at a major youth tournament will stand to them as their Rugby careers develop and they have a rare chance to forge friendships to last a lifetime.”

“I have no doubt that Salt Lake City 2012 will be a resounding success, promoting age grade Rugby at its best with its values of respect, fair play and passion.”

“I am sure that the reward for USA Rugby’s hard work and dedication in organising this special event will be a Trophy of which the US and the global Rugby family can be proud.”

For the full JWRT 2012 match schedule click here.

The JWRT reflects Rugby’s growth and is a key part of the IRB’s commitment to growing the Game beyond its traditional heartlands. With teams involved from South America, North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa, this truly is a global tournament.

And Rugby fans across the world can savour every try, tackle and pass as all 16 matches are streamed live for the first time and available all over the world. The streaming can be accessed through KSL or Deseret News.

The IRB will also make available to the media regular updates, match reports, rights-free photographs and audio interviews via the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 official website.

For the first time, the JWRT is also fully social and interactive as the IRB provide daily digital updates and fans can have their say by tweeting @irbjuniors or following via Facebook.

The players competing at the JWRT – and its sister tournament, the JWC – are the stars of tomorrow. More than 80 players who first came to the attention of an international audience at JWRT since its inception in 2008 have gone to represent their countries at full senior Test level and, undoubtedly, this year’s crop will be no exception.

In addition, the unique spirit that Rugby engenders will be on display as the teams take time out to conduct training sessions in schools and other community outreach activities while in Salt Lake City.

Through their passion and enthusiasm, it is hoped these talented players can inspire more local young people to take up the sport or develop further the skills they have already learned. This will be the legacy that the JWRT 2012 will leave behind long after the players have returned home.

Round One, Monday June 18 (all times are local)

Murray Rugby Park, Salt Lake City

Japan v Zimbabwe, 12.00
Chile v Russia, 14.00
Georgia v Canada, 16.00
USA v Tonga, 18.00