The International Rugby Board has announced that Chile will host the inaugural IRB Junior World Trophy in April 2008. The Tournament, which will feature eight teams, will be played in Santiago.
“The IRB is delighted that Chile and the city of Santiago will host the IRB Junior World Trophy next year. Chile has a heritage of hosting major Rugby Tournaments including the FIRA run 32-team Under 19 Championship in 2001, an IRB Sevens World Series Tournament in 2002 and is also a regular host of CONSUR Regional Tournaments,” said IRB Head of Rugby Services, Mark Egan.
“With a passionate Rugby Community, outstanding facilities and full backing from the Government, Chile has a wonderful opportunity to get the new IRB Age Grade World Championship Tournament era off to a successful start by hosting what should be a memorable event,” added Egan.
The Tournament will be contested by eight Under 20 teams in a format that will comprise two automatic qualifiers; Georgia and Uruguay (from the IRB Under 19 World Championship 2007 rankings), and six qualifiers from each of the regional Under 19 Tournaments; Chile (CONSUR) Jamaica (NAWIRA), Namibia (CAR) and yet to be determined qualifiers from FIRA-AER, FORU and ARFU. The qualifier process will be completed by the end of 2007.
“The six annual regional qualifying Tournaments provide all our Member Unions with regular access to international Age Grade competition. Additionally the qualifiers provide an important competitive testing ground and development pathway for aspiring international players,” said Egan.
“A promotion and relegation system will operate between the annual Junior World Trophy and Junior World Championship events, with the top team in the Trophy swapping places with the bottom team in the Championship. This is an exciting development as it means that there is a clear pathway for Unions to climb the ladder to the top echelons of Age Grade Rugby starting with the Regional qualification system.”
“The IRB will be investing close to £3 million across all Regional and World Age Grade Tournaments in 2008 which reflects the strategic importance of these competitions for both retaining players in the Game and providing the breeding ground for the future international stars,” added Egan.
Details of the host venues, dates and Tournament schedule will be announced shortly. The host country for the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship at Under 20 level, which will be played in June 2008, will be announced after Rugby World Cup 2007.
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