Auckland to host under-20 world champs

Auckland will play host to the under-20s rugby world championship in 2014.

The International Rugby Board this morning announced that the annual IRB Junior World Championship will be held in Auckland in June in just over a year and a half.

The annual championship, which will see 11 countries playing it out for the top title, began in 2008 and has never been hosted in New Zealand.

Since 2008 New Zealand has won every year, except for this year when host country South Africa took out the top spot.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce welcomed the announcement.

The Junior World Championship was widely acknowledged as the second most important rugby competition after the Rugby World Cup, he said.

It was expected the event would bring in about $8 million in economic benefits.

The Government has invested $1.45 million into the event, which has been matched by the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development.

Recreation Minister Murray McCully said the Junior World Championship has been a breeding ground for future stars.

"Of the current All Black squad in Europe, seven have played in this under-20 tournament in recent years including Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith and Julian Savea,'' he said.

- The Aucklander

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