World Rugby U20 Championship launched in Manchester

World U20 Championship launch in Manchester, England.
World U20 Championship launch in Manchester, England.

The World Rugby U20 Championship has been launched, just three days before the tournament kicks off in Manchester, England.

All 12 teams have arrived in the north-west of England, where New Zealand will aim to retain the trophy they won last year in Italy. Matches will be played at Manchester City Academy Stadium and AJ Bell Stadium on June 7, 11, 15 and 20, with the final held at the AJ Bell Stadium on June 25.

Speaking at the launch, World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said: "The U20 Championship is a perfect pathway for the future stars of world rugby.

"Following Rugby World Cup 2015, Manchester will provide a great backdrop for the games and fans in the region are in for a feast of open, running rugby at a tournament that will showcase some of the stars of the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019."

RFU President Jason Leonard said: "It is a tremendous privilege as host union to, once again, welcome friends from across the rugby world to the tournament, and to meet the future stars of our sport.

"The World Rugby U20 Championship is a tremendous showcase of rising talent, and we look forward to three weeks of exciting rugby. For the RFU as host union, the tournament also plays an important role in continuing the Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy in this country - with more youngsters playing, more older players returning, more coaches, referees and volunteers inspired to get involved."

The trophy made its final journey into Manchester on Saturday morning, after a trophy tour that visited schools and clubs around England over the past month. Matches will be broadcast to 111 countries around the world.

New Zealand opens their campaign on Wednesday morning (6.45am NZT) against Georgia.

- NZ Herald

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