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World Rugby Under-20 Championship Is Launched In Milan

World Rugby Under-20 Championship Is Launched In Milan

The future stars of rugby are in Italy and are ready to set the world alight. With anticipation building in a Rugby World Cup year, the World Rugby Under-20 Championship captains jetted into Milan today to meet the media ahead of kick-off on Tuesday.

The 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship, which will see matches played in Parma, Viadana, Calvisano and Cremona, will be broadcast to more than 100 countries around the world.

More than 160 million homes will be able to watch as the Ireland Under-20s try to better their fourth place finish at last summer’s tournament in New Zealand. The Irish games will be live on TG4.

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Ireland scrum half and captain Nick McCarthy said: “We’ve prepared well. We had a good (warm-up) test against France where 28 players got some game-time. Argentina (our first opponents) are a good side, they had two close games against South Africa, so it’s going to be a massive challenge but we’re looking forward to it.”

The Championship’s pool stages get underway next Tuesday and the final will be played in Cremona on Saturday, June 20. Ireland’s opponents in Pool C are Argentina, Scotland and New Zealand.

World Rugby U-20 Championship – Fixtures

World Rugby U-20 Championship – Where To Watch?

Speaking at the official launch in Milan, World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper commented: “This competition is very exciting and is hugely important to the global game. Since 2008, almost 350 players coming from the U-20 Championship have played Test rugby for their country.

“It is the garden of development for a player to move to the top level. This is the first international experience for many players and I hope it is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Since its inception in 2008, an impressive total of 343 players have made the step up from the U-20 Championship (formerly the Junior World Championship) to win full international honours, with many of them expected to feature prominently at this year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

The twelve Under-20 Championship captains pictured at the launch were: Kosuke Horikoshi (Japan), Bautista Ezcurra (Argentina), Rory Thornton (Wales), Andrew Kellaway (Australia), Atu Moli (New Zealand), Paolo Buonfiglio (Italy), Charlie Ewels (England), Hanro Liebenberg (South Africa), Nick McCarthy (Ireland), Lucas Bachelier (France), Joshua Dowsing (Samoa) and Jamie Ritchie (Scotland).