This year’s FIRA-AER Under 19 World Championship will be hosted by France, and takes place in the Ile de France region around Paris from April 9th-20th, 2003.
This year’s IRB FIRA-AER Under 19 World Championship is hosted by France, and takes place in the Ile de France region around Paris from April 9-20 2003.
The Tournament, one of the big success stories in international rugby, started in 1969 as a low-key event played by five European nations. Spain the hosts entered two teams to make up numbers.
The European Federation, FIRA-AER, has since worked hard to increase the status and the quality of the event, which has gone from from strength to strength. However, the catalyst that has helped turn the tournament into one of the finest rugby events in the world has been the decision of the International Rugby Board to part-fund it – creating opportunities for all the world nations to compete.
The quality of the field has increased steadily. With the turn of the new millennium came the leading southern hemisphere teams New Zealand and Australia, followed by Samoa and Tonga, Korea, and Sri Lanka.
The tournament’s format is simple. The top 16 seeded teams based on last year’s performance are in Pool A, with seeds 17-32 – including wild card entries from Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic and Hong Kong – in Pool B.
The competition follows a knock-out draw from the first match. Winners proceed to play other winners and losers go on to play other losers in their section of the draw, culminating in one main final in each pool, plus seven other matches deciding positional rankings.
In last year’s competition New Zealand beat France 71-18 in the Group A final to take the crown, with South Africa defeating Argentina 55-19 in the 3rd/4th place play-off match.
In Group B, Canada overcame Namibia 38-22 in the final, with both teams moving up to Group A for this year’s tournament.
This year New Zealand play Namibia in their first match at the Versailles stadium, kicking off what promises to be a wonderful festival of rugby, showcasing the talent factory that is junior rugby.
Ninth seeded Ireland open their account with a game against Italy on April 10th (4pm) in Sucy.
Group A: NewZealand, France, South Africa, Argentina, Scotland, England, Wales, Italy, Ireland, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Japan Korea, Canada, Namibia.
Group B: Uruguay, Chile, Spain, USA, Tunisia, Portugal, Paraguay, Ukraine, Germany, Morocco, Chinese Taipei, Lithuania, Belgium, Cote D’Ivore, Czech Republic, Hong Kong.