World Rugby will broadcast this year’s U20 Championship to 111 countries around the world showing how big this tournament has become as an important event in the rugby calendar.
As the 12 teams get set for the tournament in Manchester, England, World Rugby has confirmed that the event from 7-25 June will be screened to more than 151 million homes. Matches will be played at Manchester City Academy Stadium and AJ Bell Stadium on 7, 11, 15 and 20 June with the final played at the AJ Bell Stadium, the home of the Sale Sharks, on Saturday 25 June.
New Zealand clinched the title in Italy last year and also won the event from 2008-11 with South Africa winning the competition on home soil in 2012.
Hosts England lifted the coveted trophy in 2013 and 2014, just missing out on a hat-trick of wins when they were beaten in a thrilling final by New Zealand in 2015. Sky Sports will broadcast the tournament in the UK with other major broadcasters coming on board to beam the action across the globe.
More than 400 players have made the jump from the ranks of the U20 Championship (formerly JWC) since 2008, with many graduates such as South Africa’s Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel, New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea and Aaron Smith, England’s George Ford and Owen Farrell and Wales captain Sam Warburton all currently stars on the world stage.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “The level of interest in this premier age-grade tournament is increasing massively each year. This June, fans from more than 110 countries around the world will watch the future stars of the game thrill and excite in Manchester, and I’ve no doubt we’ll see many of them do the same at the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
“With broadcasters such as ESPN in the United States and Canal+ in France joining other major broadcasters around the world in showing matches, it’s a fantastic opportunity to really grow the game in new and traditional rugby markets.”