The world’s 12 best teams will play in northern Italy over five match days, biding to replace France as champions with the winners to be crowned on 18 July in Parma.Teams competing in the Premier age-grade tournament are split into three groups of four with the 2019 medallists becoming the top seeds in France, South Africa’s runners-up Australia and bronze medallists.
Then, to ensure a split between two teams from the northern and two from the southern hemisphere in each pool, the remaining teams were seeded and put in snake format accordingly. The squad being promoted from the World Rugby U20 Trophy is considered a squad from the southern hemisphere.
The pool matches will be held at the brand new Payanini Center in Verona, the Sergio Zaffanella Stadium in Viadana, and the Peroni Stadium in Calvisano, home to the reigning Italian national champions.
Although Verona will host matches for the first time, this was achieved by Viadana, Parma, and Calvisano when Italy last hosted the U20 Championship in 2015 and all three will stage the playoff rounds.
Two-time defending champions France are joined by Argentina, Ireland and Japan in Pool A, the latter coming back to the competition after winning the 2019 World Rugby U20 Trophy.
Japan 2019 U20 World Rugby Championship
Australia will face six-time New Zealand, Wales and Georgia champions in Pool B, while Italy hosts have been paired in Pool C with 2012 South Africa winners, three-time England champions, and Fiji.
The three pool winners and the best runner-up across the pools will progress into the semi-finals and keep their hopes of lifting the distinctive trophy alive.
When it started in 2008, a total of 690 players have progressed from the U20 Championship to the test arena, including 16 members of the 2019 South African Rugby World Cup-winning squad including Captain Siya Kolisi, Handré Pollard and World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit.
It’s going to be the third time the U20 Championship has been held in Italy with the Veneto area the venue for the 2011 edition when the likes of Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane helped New Zealand secure a fourth consecutive title New Zealand will be bidding for a third title on Italian soil, which won in 2015 too.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Each year the U20 World Rugby Championship highlights the most talented young rugby players and we see graduates performing at the highest level year after year from the competition. Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan has featured 228 players who originally represented their country in this competition and I encourage all rugby fans to closely watch matches for tomorrow’s next rugby stars.
“Italy has proven to be great hosts in the past, and we are sure that rugby strongholds such as Viadana, Calvisano, Verona, and Parma can offer the best possible stage for the case.”