5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
Even before the first round of matches has been played, the 2012 Championship has been confirmed as a record-breaker.
For the first time total hours broadcast will exceed 310, while the event which runs from June 4 to 22 in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, will be screened live or 'as live' to more than 307 million homes in 172 territories by 21 leading broadcasters, a 21% rise in coverage from last year.
Speaking at the Championship launch in Cape Town, Ireland Under-20 head coach Mike Ruddock is looking forward to Monday's Pool B opener against hosts South Africa.
"It's a very tough pool, probably the most physical of the lot when you look at what Italy bring, they're going to be very, very physical, we played them in the Six Nations and they can't be underestimated at all," he said.
"England were (Six Nations) champions of course, beating us in the last game, and South Africa as you've heard want to win the title on home soil.
"But we're a confident bunch, we went to places like France and won this year. In the Six Nations we won four out of five matches.
"It's a good team that believes they can go in there and get stuck into South Africa, we know the physicality is going to be up there."
Meanwhile, IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said that he was delighted with preparations and anticipates an event that will deliver wide-ranging benefits for teams and the South African rugby community.
"With three days to go until the Championship kicks off, I have no doubt that South Africa 2012 will be a resounding success, promoting age grade rugby at its best and its values of respect, fair play and passion to an unprecedented global audience," he said.
"I am sure that the reward for the South African Rugby Union's hard work and dedication in organising this special event will be a Championship that South Africa and the global rugby family can be proud of."
The blend of triple-headers at the University of Western Cape Stadium (Cape Town) and the Danie Craven Stadium (Stellenbosch) over five match days, attractive ticketing prices and seeing the future stars of the game in action makes for a mouth-watering festival of world class rugby.
"This tournament goes from strength to strength every year. There is palpable excitement within the South African Rugby family and fans attending matches at both venues will experience much more than three matches a day. It will be an entertainment experience for the whole family," he added.
For the players, the IRB Junior World Championship not only delivers an opportunity to test themselves against the cream of their generation, but it also provides an invaluable development and educational platform to prepare them for rugby's biggest events.
To date, 130 players have graduated from the Junior World Championship since its inception in 2008 to represent their country at senior Test level, proving the event's worth as a finishing school for the future stars of the game.
"The Championship is a unique learning environment on many fronts. We provide crucial anti-doping and player welfare education and training as well as awareness of rugby's core values," explained Bourdarias.
"We also want the players to enjoy the experience and express themselves on the field. South Africa 2012 will set the benchmark for future hosts to follow as the world's finest up-and-coming players start the road to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England."
Andy Marinos, SARU General Manager, Commercial and Marketing, added: "We are proud to be hosting this prestigious event and welcome the world's best Under-20 players to South Africa over the next three weeks.
"Everything is ready for kick-off. We have two superb match venues, fantastic facilities for all the teams and in partnership with the Western Province Union and the Universities we are confident that we will deliver an outstanding IRB Junior World Championship."
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