100 days to go until JWRT 2013 kicks off

(IRB.COM) Monday 18 February 2013
 
 100 days to go until JWRT 2013 kicks off
Namibia have qualified for the JWRT for the first time since 2009

There are just 100 days to go until the start of the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2013, which will be held this year in Antofagasta, Chile.

Excitement is building as Chile prepares to host the age-grade competition for the second time after the capital city, Santiago, hosted the inaugural tournament in 2008.

Eight teams from all around the world will take part in this year's event, with the winner promoted to the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand.

The Under 20 tournament format will be the same as in previous years, with two pools of four teams. The first round of games commences on May 28, with the winners of the two pools facing each other in the final on Sunday, June 9, to claim the title.

Pool A sees the hosts Chile drawn with former winners Italy who will return to the Trophy after being relegated from last year's IRB Junior World Championship. Namibia, who haven't played in the tournament since 2009, and debutants Portugal are the other two teams in this competitive pool.

Three-time runners-up Japan, Tonga, Canada and inaugural champions Uruguay will make up Pool B.

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The tournament is another building block for Rugby in South America, and five years on from the inaugural event in Chile, IRB Regional Development Manager Santiago Ramallo said there had been considerable development of Rugby in the country.

"More than 50 players who played in the inaugural Junior World Rugby Trophy in Santiago have gone on to play on the Test stage, including 15 of the Chilean Under 20 side who were runners-up to Uruguay in 2008. This underlines the importance of the event for developing players of the future," said Ramallo.

"Of course, players are not the only ones looking to take their skills to the next level at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2013. It is also a stage to let referees from around the world showcase their abilities and develop as match officials in a high-pressure, intense environment," he said.

Organisers in Antofagasta are predicting huge interest in the competition, especially as Rugby continues to gain significant momentum in South America , particularly following the decision to admit Rugby Sevens to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Fans are expected to flock to Antofagasta, known locally as "the Pearl of the North". Local representatives are looking forward to staging an unforgettable tournament and welcoming fans.

FERUCHI President Francisco Davanzo said: "There's real excitement in Antofagasta with this great tournament just 100 days away. It's an exciting time for Rugby in Chile as it will leave a massive legacy in the region. The Game continues to develop and grow stronger, and international events like this will certainly help to build on the important legacy over the coming years."

The International Rugby Board heavily invests in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and the IRB Junior World Championship every year, as part of its strategy to develop the future stars of world Rugby and provide high-performance pathway structures for players at the Under 20 level.

The match days of the tournament will be May 28, June 1, 5 and 9 and all games will take place at the Circuito Deportivo Ciudad de Antofagasta.