The draw for the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship has been released today.
The tournament will take place in Georgia this year, with games split between the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi and the Kutaisi Stadium in Kutaisi, with the final taking place on Sunday 18th June at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi.
England are looking to defend the title that they won on home soil this year, their third title in four years and will face the reigning U20 6 Nations Champions Wales in Pool A.
Also in Pool A are Australia and Samoa. Samoa were promoted to the tournament after winning the second tier World Rugby U20 Trophy title in Zimbabwe this year, Japan have dropped down to that this year after finishing bottom in Manchester this June.
Ireland, who were the losing finalists to England in June, and Scotland are both in Pool B, where they will face Italy and the ever challenging New Zealand, the most successful side ever at U20 level.
Pool C meanwhile will see the hosts, Georgia, in a tricky group alongside last year’s two losing semi finalists, Argentina and South Africa, as well as France.
The tournament kicks off on Wednesday 31st May with England facing Samoa in Tbilisi and Scotland playing New Zealand in Kutaisi, both at 13.00. Ireland they play Italy at 15.30 with France v South Africa at the same time, followed by the hosts opening game against Argentina at 18.00. Australia v Wales in Tbilisi will round off the days play at 20.30.
Round 2 of the Pool Stages takes place on Sunday 4th June. Ireland v Scotland kicks things off at 13.00, with England v Wales the showpiece game of the day at 20.30.
Thursday 8th June sees the final round of pool games, always a decisive day, this will see Scotland face Italy and Wales play Samoa at 13.00, with Ireland facing a monumental task against New Zealand at 15.30. They day then finishes for the home nations with another massive 20.30 kick off between England and Australia.
Semi Finals day is on Tuesday 13th June, with Finals Day at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium taking place on Sunday 18th June.
Speaking to www.worldrugby.org at the announcement of the draw, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont was keen to stress the importance of spreading the game:
“The World Rugby U20 Championship is proving to be an enormously popular and important tournament and it plays a key developmental role in preparing the future stars of the game. Rugby is growing at an incredible rate in Georgia and interest is at an all time high. I have no doubt that we’ll see passionate and energetic crowds in Tbilisi and Kutaisi next year as all 12 teams put on a masterclass for fans.”
“With preparations continuing for Rugby World Cup 2019, many of the players we see in Georgia could also feature on the greatest stage in Japan in just under three years’ time.”
|2017 World Rugby U20 Championship Pools|
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C|
2017 World Rugby U20 Championship Schedule:
Wednesday 31st May – Pool Stage Round 1:
13.00 England v Samoa (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
13.00 New Zealand v Scotland (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
15.30 Ireland v Italy (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
15.30 France v South Africa (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
18.00 Argentina v Georgia (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
20.30 Australia v Wales (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
Sunday 4th June – Pool Stage Round 2:
13.00 Ireland v Scotland (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
13.00 Argentina v France (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
15.30 Australia v Samoa (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
15.30 Italy v New Zealand (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
18.00 Georgia v South Africa (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
20.30 England v Wales (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
Thursday 8th June – Pool Stage Round 3:
13.00 Samoa v Wales (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
13.00 Italy v Scotland (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
15.30 Ireland v New Zealand (Pool B) – Kutaisi Stadium, Kutaisi
15.30 Argentina v South Africa (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
18.00 France v Georgia (Pool C) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
20.30 Australia v England (Pool A) – Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi
Tuesday 13th June – Semi Finals Stage
Sunday 18th June – Finals Day