By Frankie Deges
The quick response of the Araucania province and the city of Temuco to ensure that the eleventh hour change of venue for this year’s IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy does not affect a tournament of this stature, has already proven the correct choice.
When factors outside the control of the International Rugby Board forced a change in this year’s original host city of Antofagasta, and on the back of a recent successful Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier between Chile and Brazil, Temuco stepped up to the plate. And already it looks set to be a great event.
Earlier this week, IRB Tournament Director Santiago Ramallo took the trophy itself to Temuco and presented it to Governor Andrés Molina Magofke of the Araucania Region and Mayor Miguel Becker, of the city of Temuco.
"We are delighted to host this event in our city and despite the little time we’ve had to prepare, we are ready to welcome this great tournament," said Becker.
“This is an opportunity to showcase our city and region in front of visitors of this calibre. Sport is very good for education and rugby has special values and qualities that are very positive for our young people.”
Mayor Becker was proud to note that he played “in the backs” when he was a student in a Chilean military academy.
During the presentation ceremony at the City Parliament, Governor Molina Magofke addressed City Municipal Council members and the general public, explaining the importance of having the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in the region.
Ready for an event to remember
"The benefit of having such a high profile event is huge. Not only from the PR point of view but the chance young fans will have of interacting with the future stars of world rugby,” said Governor Magofke.
His son Matías represented Chile Under 18 last year and is a player at local school Greenlands.
In his visit second city visit in 10 days, Ramallo inspected match and training venues as well as accommodation, and was happy with what he found.
"The support this tournament is receiving from the political community is second to none. We are lucky with what is on offer,” said Ramallo.
Local organisers have promised huge numbers and the best venue in the six years of the Trophy will be the Germán Becker Stadium, with a capacity for 18,000 spectators.
“It is a great venue and when we played against Brazil here we were delighted by the level of support and the facilities,” said FERUCHI President Francisco Davanzo.
“We were devastated when Antofagasta decided to pull out but the way the Araucania and Temuco communities have taken the tournament to heart is encouraging for what should be an event to remember.”
The International Rugby Board invests heavily in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and 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.