Posted on Wednesday, 07 Feb 2024
The 12 best Under-20 sides in the world will return to South Africa in June after World Rugby announced on Wednesday that the World Rugby U20 Championship will again be hosted in the Western Cape.
The World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 will be played over five match days in Stellenbosch and Cape Town, with the participating teams grouped into three pools of four. Three-time consecutive winners France are in Pool A with New Zealand, Wales and Spain, who will make their debut after winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2023.
After claiming the bronze medal with a superb defensive and forward display last year, the Junior Springboks will look to impress again on home soil and face England, Argentina and Fiji in Pool C, while 2023 runners-up Ireland, Australia, Georgia and Italy make up Pool B.
The first round is on Saturday, 29 June and the final will be played at DHL Stadium in Cape Town on 19 July.
SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer said South Africa is looking forward to welcoming back the world’s best young players to the Western Cape.
“We have a proud history of successfully staging world-class events and we are extremely proud to be hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship for a second successive year in the Western Cape,” said Oberholzer.
“Despite the challenging weather we experienced at times during last winter’s successful tournament, our enthusiastic rugby supporters truly showed their passion for the game and eagerness to see the world’s best young players in action by turning out in numbers in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Cape Town.”
Oberholzer said planning for the tournament with World Rugby and key stakeholders are already well-advanced: “We are determined to improve on last year’s event and to present a memorable, world-class tournament that players, match officials and rugby fans – locals and from abroad – will thoroughly enjoy.”
The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024 will be hosted in Edinburgh, Scotland, where eight teams will fight for promotion to the Championship in 2025: Japan (relegated from the U20 Championship in 2023), Scotland (hosts), Hong Kong China (Asia), Netherlands (Europe), Uruguay (South America) and representatives from Africa, North America and Oceania.
The two age-grade tournaments are a key part of the international federation’s investment in increasing the competitiveness of global rugby by providing a meaningful pathway to the elite level for talented young players.
The showpiece tournaments, first held in 2008, have seen more than 1,550 players go on to make their Test debut after playing on this stage, including 32 Rugby World Cup winners.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The U20 pathway is at the heart of our ambition to develop competitiveness globally. Since their inception in 2008, the World Rugby U20 Championship and Trophy have provided exciting opportunities for the future stars of the game to express their talents and develop before reaching test level as well as a compelling spectacle for anyone interested in our game.
“South Africa and Scotland will be fantastic hosts and provide ideal conditions for the 20 best U20 teams in the world to perform and I would like to thank our two member unions for taking up the hosting challenge. I am convinced many of the talented young players featuring in these competitions will leave their mark, not only on these two tournaments but also on international rugby later down the line.”
World Rugby U20 Championship 2024
Date: 29 June to 19 July
Venues: Danie Craven Stadium (Stellenbosch), Athlone Stadium, DHL Stadium (both in Cape Town)
Pools (with 2023 ranking in brackets)
Pool A: France (1), Wales (6), New Zealand (7), Spain (12)
Pool B: Ireland (2), Australia (5), Georgia (8), Italy (11)
Pool C: South Africa (3), England (4), Argentina (9), Fiji (10)