The countdown to the World Rugby U20 Championship has begun with just 100 days to go until the competition kicks-off at the AJ Bell Stadium, home of Sale Sharks.
Credited with showcasing the future stars of rugby, the World Rugby U20 Championship heads to Manchester in June for three weeks of top- class sporting action. Hosted by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the tournament will take place across two venues: the AJ Bell Stadium and Manchester City’s Academy Stadium.
The U20 tournament has helped produce the likes of current England senior players Jack Nowell, George Ford and Owen Farrell – who helped launch 100 days to go at their training base this week – as well as Rugby World Cup winners Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Julian Savea and Aaron Smith of New Zealand. Since 2008, 31 England players have progressed from the U20 competition into the Senior team including Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford and Paul Hill.
Speaking about the tournament, England wing Jack Nowell said: “Winning the World Rugby U20 Championship was a really significant moment for me. To represent England in a final with such a talented group of players was extra special. The list of graduates from the tournament speaks for itself.
“To have the competition in England this year will be amazing. I know we massively benefited from the travelling support we had out in France in 2013, so to have that on home soil will be huge for the U20s players.”
Now with just 100 days to go until the competition kicks-off on June 7, the RFU has released the Get Involved pack, outlining the ways in which schools, clubs and wider communities can connect with the competition. Opportunities include adopting a team and putting your creative skills to work, taking part in the Trophy Tour or a Team Welcome Ceremony, and competitions to win exclusive experiences. To download the Get Involved pack, visit the World Rugby U20 Championship hub at www.englandrugby.com/u20championship.
Commenting on the opportunities available, RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said: “A key priority for the Union in hosting this tournament is making sure we engage as many clubs, schools and communities as possible, particularly in the North West. There is a multitude of ways to get involved in the tournament, which will not only encourage attendance at the matches themselves but hopefully drive an increase in rugby participation levels for the benefit of the wider game.”
World Rugby Chairman, Bernard Lapasset added: “The U20 Championship is a pathway for the future stars of the game to develop and we’ve seen in recent years just how important it has become. With almost 400 players making the step up from the under-20 ranks to the international test arena, it is now a crucial stepping-stone.
"I have no doubt that Manchester will provide an excellent base for the world's top under-20 teams, and it's a great opportunity to bring a world-class rugby event to the city and grow the game even further after a fantastic Rugby World Cup in England last year.”
See the Future Stars of Rugby at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester this June. For more information, including how to buy tickets, visit http://www.englandrugby.com/u20championship #FutureStarsofRugby