JOHANNESBURG– ZIMBABWE has been chosen to host the 2016 World Rugby Under 20 Trophy.
The tournament will be hosted at the Harare Sports Ground between April 19 and May 1, and has the full backing and approval of the World Rugby Council.
John Falkenberg, president of Zimbabwe Rugby, said: “We are very pleased and excited that the Under-20 Trophy will be held in Harare in 2016. I would like to thank World Rugby for their confidence and commitment.
“Being awarded the hosting rights for this prestigious tournament will have a lasting impact on the development of the game, not just in Zimbabwe where we have a long and proud heritage that continues to grow, but also in the region.
“Hosting and participating in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is an achievement that will inspire and encourage players and fans and promote rugby as a leading sport in the country.”
Since its inception, more than 600 players have graduated from Under-20 rugby to Test rugby, which highlights the importance of such tournaments.
World Rugby’s head of competitions and performance Mark Egan said: “The U20 Trophy is growing in importance year-on-year and provides a crucial pathway for academy players from our High Performance tier two and Performance Unions to achieving full international honours at future Rugby World Cups.
“It is interesting to note that more than a third of all players participating at RWC 2015 have come through the World Rugby Under 20 competitions pathway.
“We’re excited about bringing such a prestigious tournament to Zimbabwe for the first time. I have no doubt that fans will see some excellent rugby on display.”
Eight teams will be competing in the tournament with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Samoa and Uruguay already confirmed, with four more spots on offer for regional qualifiers from Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. – ANA.