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Junior World Championship Fixtures Confirmed

Junior World Championship Fixtures Confirmed

Ireland will kick off their IRB Junior World Championship campaign against France in North Harbour Stadium next June. Confirmation of the match schedule for the 2014 tournament was announced yesterday.

The future stars of world rugby will come together in New Zealand from June 2 to 20 for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship.

The seventh edition of the Under-20 tournament will see matches played at North Harbour Stadium and Pukekohe Stadium during the pool stages and semi-finals on June 2, 6, 10 and 15.

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Ireland are in Pool B alongside Wales, France and Fiji and will kick off their campaign on Monday, June 2 against France. This is followed on Friday, June 6 by the game against Wales. The final pool fixture against Fiji follows on Tuesday, June 10.

The full match schedule can be viewed here.

The IRB Junior World Championship has gone from strength to strength since its introduction in 2008 with record crowds attending the South African event in 2012 and record television audiences watching the 2013 edition in France.

More than 260 players have graduated from the Junior World Championship to the Test arena, including 17 who played their part in New Zealand’s perfect year with 14 victories from 14 in 2013.

One of them was JWC 2009 winning captain Aaron Cruden, who kicked the touchline conversion that sealed the 14th win – 24-22 over Ireland last Sunday – and has previously admitted how important that tournament was to his path to becoming an All Black and 2011 Rugby World Cup winner.

“There are a lot of great rugby players all around the world and I think that Under-20 tournament is a great pathway to be able to apply your trade and sort of show your wares on the international stage and then you never know what can happen,” said Cruden.

“For me, obviously, a couple of years later I was in the big one, the Rugby World Cup, and it was a total dream come true and I think I have the Junior World Championship to thank for that.”

IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said preparations are on track for next year’s tournament in New Zealand.

“Following the massive success of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, it’s great to be back in New Zealand and getting ready for what promises to be an extraordinary tournament,” said Bourdarias.

“The Junior World Championship, which is now more competitive than ever, has grown massively as a result of its open, running rugby, its values and the chance for fans to see the future stars of world rugby up close.”

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew added: “We are incredibly proud to once again play host to the rugby world.

“Two years ago we delivered a very successful Rugby World Cup. I am confident we can once again stage a very special event that will make our country proud while also providing the right platform for the best young players in the world to perform to their potential.”