Pools Announced For 2012 Junior World Championship
12 December 2011, 2:03 pm
The Ireland Under-20s have been drawn in a pool with hosts South Africa and Six Nations rivals England and Italy for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship.
The International Rugby Board has announced the dates, pools and venues for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa.
Cape Town and Stellenbosch will host the world's premier age-grade tournament between June 4 and 22, which will feature the world's top 12 ranked Under-20 teams.
In a move from recent Championships, the 2012 event will feature just two venues with triple-headers being played across five matchdays to maximise crowds and create a festival format within what is a large rugby heartland.
Two venues with strong rugby heritage have been selected with the University of Western Cape Stadium in Cape Town sharing the matches with the Danie Craven Stadium, which will host the final on June 22.
Coached by Mike Ruddock, this is the third year running that the Ireland Under-20s will share a pool with England, while they played South Africa twice in the pool stages and play-offs of the 2011 Championship.
2012 IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POOLS:
POOL A - New Zealand (2011 champions), Fiji, Wales, Samoa
POOL B - England, South Africa, IRELAND, Italy
POOL C - Australia, France, Argentina, Scotland
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB Junior World Championship has grown to become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the global rugby calendar, delivering a competitive development pathway for our Unions as well as a fantastic competitive product which has proven a hit with fans and broadcasters.
"So far, 111 players have made the step up from the tournament to win full Test caps, including 49 players who made their mark at the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
"We look forward to another memorable tournament in 2012 and the opportunity to embrace the rich rugby heritage of the region with the dynamic and free-flowing rugby provided by the next generation of international Test stars."
The South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) is committed to delivering a tournament to further the growth of rugby within the country, while building on the record-breaking 2011 edition staged in the Veneto region of Italy which was screened live by 19 broadcasters to 142 territories.
IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias, speaking in South Africa for the announcement, commented; "The IRB Junior World Championship is strategically important both for the IRB and participating Unions as it provides a competitive international arena to test and develop some of the best up-and-coming players and referees in the world.
"South Africa has a proven record in hosting wonderful rugby events and I am sure the teams and players will enjoy a unique experience here next year."
SARU President Oregan Hoskins added: "We are delighted to host the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship in our rugby-mad country and we look forward to welcoming the teams here in June."
The South African pair of Patrick Lambie and Francois Hougaard join an illustrious list of graduates which includes New Zealand's 2011 World Cup winners Aaron Cruden, Zac Guildford and Sam Whitelock, Ireland's Rhys Ruddock, Australian duo David Pocock and Will Genia, England's Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs and Wales' youngest ever World Cup captain Sam Warburton.
Any news on when the squad for the 6 nations will be picked or when/if a training squad will be announced?
Very tough group considering we normally struggle against the more powerful english and south africans