- Eight teams to compete over four match days in São José dos Campos
- Japan aiming to bounce back following relegation from U20 Championship
- Hosts Brazil at all-time high in senior men’s World Rugby Rankings
- More than 16 million rugby fans in Brazil according to Nielsen research
- Hong Kong U20 In pool B
The pools and match schedule have been confirmed for the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2019, which will be staged in São José dos Campos, Brazil, from 9-21 July.
The 12th edition of the annual global age-grade tournament will see eight teams playing for the prize of promotion to the U20 Championship in 2020.
The competition format involves two pools of four teams who will compete over three match days on 9, 13 and 17 July, before the finals day on 21 July.
The 2017 champions Japan, who were relegated from the U20 Championship last year, will take on Kenya, Uruguay and either USA or Canada in Pool A, with the North American representative to be decided by a two match play-off on 4 and 8 June in Victoria, Canada.
Hosts Brazil are making their first appearance in the U20 Trophy and will face Portugal, Hong Kong and Tonga in Pool B.
All matches will take place at the Martins Pereira Stadium, which played host to several matches in the Americas Rugby Championship earlier this year.
The event marks the first time Brazil will host a World Rugby global 15s competition, following the outstanding success of the rugby sevens tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The competition also provides a platform to develop the players who will become the stars of the future in many of the emerging nations of rugby. To date 460 players have successfully made the transition from appearing in the U20 Trophy to achieving senior test player status.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The age-grade tournaments provide an important development opportunity for the next generation of stars to hone their skills in a competitive environment and I am sure we will witness exciting, high quality rugby throughout the event.
“The U20 Trophy is a World Rugby funded tournament and with a youthful and sport-loving population of over 200 million, Brazil is a strategic investment priority as part of World Rugby’s mission to grow the game globally.
“With the senior men’s team at an all-time high of 24th in the World Rugby Rankings and a rapidly expanding fanbase, it is an exciting time for rugby in Brazil and I thank the Brazil Rugby Union and their partners for hosting this important event.”
The future for rugby in Brazil looks bright, with recent Nielsen research finding there to be more than 16 million fans – those who are ‘interested’ or ‘very interested’ in rugby – making Brazil the sixth largest potential rugby market in the world.
On the pitch the senior men’s team have climbed to 24th in the World Rugby Rankings following a string of impressive results over the past year, while the women’s sevens team achieved promotion to the World Series with an impressive victory at the qualifier event in Hong Kong last month.
Ticketing information for the World Rugby U20 Trophy will be available soon.