Junior World Rugby Trophy – everything you need to know.
There’s a great month of rugby ahead for the USA men’s senior team as they take on Canada, Italy and Georgia in a series of friendlies that marks their addition to the IRB international tours and tournaments schedule.
June for me will be taken up with my role as USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach as the team competes in the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Utah. Just off the back of a pre-tournament 2-0 series win in Canada, the squad are hungry to take on some of the best young players in the game.
5 quick facts about the Junior World Rugby Trophy
1. What is the Junior World Rugby Trophy?
Featuring teams from emerging rugby nations, the Junior World Rugby Trophy is a key competition for U20s. It gives players the opportunity to test their skills on the international stage and prove their rugby potential to play at elite level.
“The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy has consistently proven that it is a major tournament on the global Rugby calendar.” IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
The tournament, which has been held four times, is known for its entertaining rugby and has grown in popularity with the 2011 event in Tbilisi, Georgia attracting record crowds. It is credited with growing the sport in new markets and leaving a lasting legacy for the game in host nations.
To the winners of the Junior World Rugby Trophy goes promotion to the top tier of rugby at this age grade and the chance to play against the big boys in France in 2013 in the Junior World Championship.
2. Where is the Junior World Rugby Trophy being held?
The 16 games will be held at Murray Park Rugby Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah between the 18th and 30th of June.
“We are taking it to Salt Lake City, which is a hotbed of rugby for us. It is certainly growing in the schools, the high schools and also the college programmes are very strong around that area as well.” USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville
The USA was announced as the hosts in January at the 2012 USA Rugby Youth Development Conference in Atlanta. The award was in recognition of the work done by USA Rugby in growing the game through their Rookie Rugby programme and also to help promote the sport within what is seen as a key market for rugby.
“…the tournament also provides an opportunity to take Rugby to new and expanding territories, and enables Unions to adopt best-practice techniques across areas as diverse as High Performance strategies, event hosting and Referee development.” IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
3. Who are USA playing in the Junior World Rugby Trophy?
The 2012 event will see eight teams split into two pools.
Pool A features hosts USA, Chile, Russia and Tonga
Pool B sees Canada, Georgia, Japan and Zimbabwe face off.
Junior World Rugby Trophy Schedule
Junior World Rugby Trophy Day 1: Monday 18 June 2012
12:00 Japan v Zimbabwe
14:00 Chile v Russia
16:00 Georgia v Canada
18:00 USA v Tonga
Junior World Rugby Trophy Day 2: Friday 22 June 2012
12:00 Georgia v Zimbabwe
14:00 Japan v Canada
16:00 Tonga v Russia
18:00 USA v Chile
Junior World Rugby Trophy Day 3: Tuesday 26 June 2012
12:00 Canada v Zimbabwe
14:00 Japan v Georgia
16:00 Tonga v Chile
18:00 USA v Russia
Junior World Rugby Trophy Day 4: Saturday 30 June 2012
7th Place Play-off = 12:00 4th Pool A v 4th Pool B
5th Place Play-off = 14:00 3rd Pool A v 3rd Pool B
3rd Place Play-off = 16:00 2nd Pool A v 2nd Pool B
Final = 18:00 1st Pool A v 1st Pool B
4. Who are the favourites for the Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012?
“I think that Tonga will be quite strong and that Japan will surprise a lot of people. Those will be my top two choices after the USA.” Mike Tolkin, Head Coach of the USA Eagles
Tonga: USA face a tough first game against many people’s pick for the Tournament. You have to beat them sometime so why not in the first game?
Japan: Have finished runners up in the last two tournaments and the country will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 so this group will be looking to progress as part of their development.
USA: On home soil and with a series win in Canada this relatively untried group will be looking to lay down a marker. Strong physical side with loads of heart and determined to succeed.
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5. Is the Junior World Rugby Trophy on TV?
Yes, all the games will be streamed live on www.usa.org
The JWRT tournament offers young players an opportunity to show their skills and potential on an international stage. The world’s top young players feature and over 80 have gone on to full team appearances for their country, including USA Rugby Eagles Tai Enosa, Scott LaValla and Shawn Pittman.
You can come along and see the action for yourself and enjoy 4 great games on each of the 4 Junior World Rugby Trophy match days. Tickets are available at the gate. Why not cheer on the USA Junior All-Americans and enjoy a festival of rugby.
Murray Park Rugby Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah 18, 22, 26 & 30 June.
See you all at the Junior World Rugby Trophy!
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com #busy