World Rugby has awarded the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 hosting rights to Argentina.
The selection was approved by the international federation’s Executive Committee and reflects its mission to showcase its premier age-grade competition to a global audience.
Argentina, who are guaranteed a top six finish in the 2018 tournament in France, hosted the event in 2010 and Rosario and Santa Fe will once again host the future stars of rugby.
The World Rugby U20 Championship is the world’s premier men’s age-grade tournament and is a proven finishing school top rugby talent.
The roll call of graduates reads like a dream XV and includes World Rugby Players of the Year Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick, fellow All Black and double Rugby World Cup winner Sam Whitelock, Australia captain Michael Hooper, France captain Mathieu Bastareaud, South Africa captains Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi and two-time British and Irish Lions series winning captain Sam Warburton.
With the number of U20 Championship graduates now sitting just below 600, Argentina can lay claim to fielding the most with 61 since the tournament began in 2008. They include the like of experienced half-back pairing Martín Landajo and Nicolás Sánchez, but also three players who made their test debuts last weekend in the loss to Wales in Bautista Delguy, Javier Manuel Diaz and Santiago Medrano.
The 2018 Championship in France draws to a conclusion on Sunday but is on track to be the best-attended, most viewed and most socially-engaged event to date.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “I am delighted to announce that Argentina will host the 2019 edition of the World Rugby U20 Championship.
“Argentina is a passionate rugby nation and we are impressed with their plans to provide an outstanding environment for teams and a strong legacy programme.
“We look forward to working in partnership with the Unión Argentina de Rugby to deliver what I am sure will be a very special and successful championship.”
World Rugby Vice-chairman Agustin Pichot added: “The World Rugby U20 Championship is a special tournament that plays an important role for players, match officials, fans and hosts alike.
“There is always a close bond between the hosts and the teams and I look forward to my country welcoming the next generation of test stars, their unions and fans with open arms, especially coming so soon after we host the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games 2018 in October.”
Unión Argentina de Rugby President Marcelo Rodríguez said: “Having the possibility to host the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 in Rosario and Santa Fe represents for all of us who are part of Argentine rugby, and for the entire region, a great honour, as huge as the responsibility it entails.
“The legacy and indelible mark that will be left on those who participate in one way or another, whether in the games, in the organisation and in its development, will be of such importance and magnitude that we will only be able to fully appreciate in the years to come.
“We are very happy and moved at having the opportunity to host an event of such prestige at home.”
Provincial governor Miguel Lifschitz added: “We are very proud to host the World Rugby U20 Championship next year in Santa Fe. We will work with all our efforts so that each and every delegation have a great stay in our province and feel the warmth of our people. This tournament is an opportunity to show all our cultural and patrimonial values and riches, and all our professional and human capacity.
“Rugby is a discipline that not only has the achievement of sports, but also is highly formative, especially on young people, and we would like to take advantage of these opportunities to transmit rugby’s values to all our citizens.”
Los Pumas second-row Matías Alemanno, who played in 2010 when Argentina first hosted the U20 Championship, said: “I have beautiful memories of 2010, when the World Championship was last played in our country … unforgettable memories. Our people – friends, family – in the stands, full stadiums, a very important fact at that time and still remains so today. It is something that any player in the world who has the chance to experience it can never forget.”
Delguy, who played in the 2016 and 2017 tournaments, added: “Playing a World Championship at home must be amazing. With the passion with which rugby is lived in our country and with the memory of the three tournaments that I had the great fortune to play in, the 2019 U20 Championship will surely be for those who take part an experience that will remain in their hearts forever.”