The World Rugby U20 Trophy starts in just over a week’s time in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The tournament is the second tier competition to the World Rugby U20 Championship, which takes place in Manchester this June. The Trophy, in contrast, runs from the 19th April to the 1st May.
The carrot in the Trophy is a place in next year’s Championship, with Georgia, last year’s Champions, now in a group for June’s tournament with New Zealand, Wales, and Ireland.
The bottom placed side in the previous years Championship drop down to the Trophy tournament. That means that this year Samoa will be in the Trophy after finishing bottom of the pile in last year’s Championship.
The Trophy is split into two groups of four teams, with the winners of each playing in the final, second place in the third place play off, and so on.
Samoa are grouped with neighbours Fiji, hosts Zimbabwe, and Uruguay, whom the ISRFC Lambs met on their recent tour of South America.
The Lambs have another reason to be keeping an eye on the Trophy, former Lamb, and Shiplake College leaver, Ruairi Van Raalte, has been selected for the USA squad for the tournament after being fast tracked into the Wanganui provincial side in New Zealand, winning the Heartland Championship. His club in New Zealand, Utiku Old Boys, have recruited another ex Lamb, Henry Hives, formerly of Stamford.
Van Raalte’s USA side are in Group B, where they will face Spain, Hong Kong, and Namibia.
World Rugby U20 Trophy – Harare, Zimbabwe, 19th April – 1st May 2016
|World Rugby U20 Trophy Pools|
|Pool A||Pool B|
World Rugby U20 Trophy Schedule:
Matchday 1 – 19th April: Uruguay v Fiji, Samoa v Zimbabwe, USA v Namibia, Spain v Hong Kong
Matchday 2 – 23rd April: Samoa v Fiji, Uruguay v Zimbabwe, Spain v Namibia, USA v Hong Kong
Matchday 3 – 27th April: Fiji v Zimbabwe, Samoa v Uruguay, Namibia v Hong Kong, Spain v USA
Matchday 4 – 1st May: Finals Day – Final, 3rd Place, 5th Place, and 7th Place play offs