The World Rugby U20 Championship and World Junior U20 Trophy return for the first time since the pandemic with the tournaments hosted in South Africa (24 June-14 July) and Kenya (15-30 July) respectively.
After three cancelled editions (2020-22) on the back of the pandemic, rugby’s two biggest men’s U20 tournaments are returning in 2023 and will feature the world’s best young talents in the sport’s bicentenary year.
Following the U20 Championship’s conclusion, Kenya will host the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2023 for the second time from 15-30 July, having previous staged the tournament in 2009. It will be the third time the tournament has been played in Africa with Zimbabwe having acted as hosts in 2016. Eight teams will battle over four match days at the Nyayo National Stadium with the eventual winner being promoted the U20 Championship in 2024.
The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2023 participating teams are: Scotland (relegated from the U20 Championship in 2019), Kenya (hosts), Hong Kong (Asia), Samoa (Oceania), Spain (Europe), Uruguay (South America) and two teams still to qualify through regional competition from North America and Africa.
The two age-grade tournaments are a key part of the international federation’s investment in increasing the competitiveness of global rugby by providing a meaningful pathway to the elite level for talented young players. The showpiece tournaments, first held in 2008, have seen almost 1,500 players go on to make their test debut after playing on this stage, including 28 Rugby World Cup winners.
South Africa will host the World Rugby U20 Championship for the next two years (2023 and 2024). The 2023 edition will be the second time that South Africa welcomes the future stars of the game after 2012 when the Junior Springboks won on home soil. The age-grade tournament will be held from 24 June-14 July. Played over five match days in the Western Cape Wineland regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington, the world’s best 12 nations have been placed into three pools and will all hope to clinch the coveted title and succeed two-time defending champions France. The team finishing last will be relegated to the World Rugby U20 Trophy next year.
The World Rugby U20 Championship 2023 participating teams are: Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are thrilled to unveil our two exciting hosts for the World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy taking place later this year. South Africa and Kenya will provide the perfect stage for the return of our flagship U20 competitions that play such a crucial role in the development of young talents within our unions.
“The U20 Championship and Trophy have been hugely popular since their inception 15 years ago and have proven successful with countless stars moving on to play test rugby and shine on the biggest stage and many of them will be on display when Rugby World Cup 2023 kicks off in September.
“Africa is a significant growth region for rugby and I would like to thank our friends in Kenya and South Africa respectively for hosting in rugby’s bicentenary year. We look forward to seeing the 20 teams inspiring the African continent with breath-taking action.”
SA Rugby President Mark Alexander added: “South Africa have a proud tradition and excellent track record of hosting world-class events and we are ready to welcome the next generations of rugby’s future to our shores in July, and again next year.
“We have the infrastructure and proven expertise to deliver excellent rugby events and, combined with fantastic backing from our passionate supporters, I have no doubt we will deliver two more very successful World Rugby U20 Championships.”