- England named in Pool B against hosts South Africa
- Great breeding ground for young players – Ford
Photo: Getty Images
England Under 20 will face hosts South Africa as well as northern hemisphere rivals Ireland and Scotland in Pool B of the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship.
Cape Town and Stellenbosch will host the world’s premier Age Grade tournament between June 4 and 22, which will feature the world’s top 12 ranked Under 20 teams.
Current IRB Young Player of the Year and Leicester Tigers fly half George Ford played in the 2011 competition and can’t wait to have another crack: “It’s a great breeding ground for young players to fine tune their game and pit their wits against the best young players in the world," he said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 tournament in Italy and while it massively disappointing not to win the final against New Zealand, hopefully we can use that defeat to inspire us and go one better next year in South Africa.”
In a move from recent Championships, the 2012 event will feature just two venues with triple-headers being played across five match days to maximise crowds and create a festival format within what is a large rugby heartland.
Two venues with strong rugby heritage have been selected with the University of Western Cape Stadium in Cape Town sharing the matches with the Danie Craven Stadium, which will host the Final on June 22.
IRB Junior World Championship 2012 Pools
- Pool A: New Zealand (2011 champions), Fiji, Wales and Samoa
- Pool B: England, South Africa, Ireland and Italy
- Pool C: Australia, France, Argentina and Scotland
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB Junior World Championship has grown to become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the global Rugby calendar, delivering a competitive development pathway for our Unions as well as a fantastic competitive product which has proven a hit with fans and broadcasters.”
“So far, 111 players have made the step up from the Tournament to win full Test caps, including 49 players who made their mark at Rugby World Cup 2011.”
“We look forward to another memorable tournament in 2012 and the opportunity to embrace the rich Rugby heritage of the region with the dynamic and free-flowing Rugby provided by the next generation of international Test stars.”
The South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) is committed to delivering a tournament to further the growth of Rugby within the country, while building on the record-breaking 2011 edition staged in the Veneto region of Italy which was screened live by 19 broadcasters to 142 territories.