The next generation of rugby stars will be heading to Italy next year after the International Rugby Board announced that the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) will host the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship.
The rugby-mad region of Veneto, which boasts Benetton Treviso, Femi-CZ Rovigo, Petrarca Padova and Casinò di Venezia as its Super 10 teams, will be home to 312 of the world’s finest Under-20 players throughout June 2011 as 12 teams look to claim the most prestigious trophy in international age grade rugby.
With the 2011 Rugby World Cup set to kick-off just a couple of months later, the action looks set to whet the appetite for what is going to be an action-packed year of world class rugby.
The announcement, made by IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont in Rome ahead of Italy’s RBS 6 Nations match with England on Sunday, further highlights the FIR’s ambition to grow the game throughout the country.
Beaumont said: “The International Rugby Board is delighted that the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship has been awarded to Italy.
“I am sure that the teams and travelling fans will be treated to a high-quality tournament set against a backdrop of outstanding hospitality and atmosphere.
“The Championship is hugely important to the IRB in terms of providing a platform for the next generation of stars to showcase their skills on the international stage and develop into truly elite athletes.
“Italy certainly has all the facilities and infrastructure to ensure that the tournament will be organised to a very high standard, which is vital for its success.”
The IRB Junior World Championship has grown into the world’s premiere hotbed of future talent with over 40 players having graduated from the tournament since its inauguration in 2008 to win full international caps.
The Italians have certainly featured prominently with Riccardo Bocchino, Simone Favaro, Andrea Bacchetti and Roberto Quartaroli having made the breakthrough to the Azzurri over the past 12 months.
For the FIR, the hosting of the Championship represents a perfect opportunity to build on RBS 6 Nations and Heineken Cup participation and grow the Game throughout Italy through a combination of dedicated legacy and promotional initiatives.
FIR President Giancarlo Dondi said: “We are delighted to host in our country the future stars of international rugby in 2011.
“The IRB Junior World Championship will be a magnificent festival for the Veneto region and for the entire Italian rugby family.
“Hosting such a prestigious tournament represents a fantastic opportunity to further the growth of the game in Italy, but it is also a benchmark of our ambitious goals as a Union.”
This year’s IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina kicks off on June 5 with the final being played in Rosario on June 21.
The current world champions are New Zealand, having defeated England to claim the prestigious title in Japan last summer for the second year in succession.
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