The 2021 World Rugby U20 Championships have been cancelled but the 2021 U20 Six Nations Championships have been rescheduled for the World Championship window.
World Rugby made the decision to cancel the 2021 World Rugby U20 Championships, which were scheduled to take place in Italy, who were originally supposed to hold the previously cancelled 2020 tournament, having consulted with the hosts and participating Unions. They are now working with regions and unions to identify opportunities for regional competitions, and the Six Nations appear to have taken the opportunity to do so by holding the U20 tournament in June and July.
However the second tier World Rugby U20 Trophy has not yet been affected as it is due to take place later in the year, Scotland are due to participate in that having been relegated from the Championships in 2019.
The Six Nations postponed both the U20s and the Women’s tournaments on 12th January as rising Covid cases and concerns about cross-border travel were peaking.
The Women’s tournament has been rescheduled for April, running from the 3rd to the 24th in a format similar to the Men’s Autumn Nations Cup.
The U20s, meanwhile, will operate under the original format but over a condensed 3-week period, which, according to Six Nations Rugby Limited, will:
“Ensure all six nations provide appropriate experience of such tournaments for the 2021 U20 generation.”
The plan is for the tournament to start on the 19th June, however exact details on fixtures, venues, and kick off times are yet to be confirmed.
In a statement, Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby said:
“We are delighted to make this announcement today and confirm new plans for our Women’s and U20s championships. The promotion and development of rugby at all levels is a key strategic priority for Six Nations. We see huge opportunity for growth in the women’s game in particular and feel it will benefit hugely from having its own specific window and being firmly placed in the limelight.”
“Our priority has always been to deliver two outstanding tournaments but equally ensuring both competitions can be played safely, taking every consideration for player welfare. A significant challenge we faced in rescheduling the Women’s tournament was the limited available window due to World Cup Qualifiers, domestic leagues, rest periods and World Cup preparations for qualified teams. Following consultation with our unions and federations as well as other key stakeholders, it was agreed that April would be the best window in which to stage the championship.”
“The U20 Six Nations Championship is also a hugely important competition in terms of player development and for those representing their country at this level it is a major milestone in any career. We look forward to announcing fixture details for the U20’s in due course.”