Teams have gathered in São José dos Campos on the eve of the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2019, with the stage set for a thrilling showcase of the best up-and-coming talent at the annual global age-grade tournament, which kicks off on Tuesday.
Taking place in Brazil for the first time, over four matchdays from 9-21 July, the World Rugby U20 Trophy will build on the momentum generated at last year’s record-breaking tournament as teams battle it out for the title and the coveted prize of promotion to the World Rugby U20 Championship 2020.
Hosts Brazil, competing in their first U20 Trophy, will take on 2017 champions Japan, along with Kenya and Uruguay in Pool A, while Tonga, Canada, Portugal and Hong Kong will face each other in Pool B.
All teams will be looking to build on the thrilling, attacking play witnessed in 2018, which saw an incredible 1,164 points and 166 tries racked up across 16 action-packed matches at the tournament in Romania, where Fiji were crowned champions following a 58-8 victory over Samoa in the final.
This year, Japan who return to the U20 Trophy following their relegation from the U20 Championship in 2018, will be hoping to regain their spot in the elite competition next year. They will face stiff competition from the other seven teams in Brazil.
Joining them from Asia are Hong Kong, who are looking to build on last year’s best-ever finish of sixth, while hosts Brazil are competing for the first time and eager to put on a good show.
Also representing South America are Uruguay, the inaugural champions in 2008 and the most experienced team in terms of matches played at this level. Los Teritos have won 56 per cent of their 36 U20 Trophy matches, the same ratio as Tonga, whose best finish was runners-up to Japan in 2014.
Kenya’s surprise qualification at the expense of African rivals Namibia sees them return to the U20 Trophy line-up for the first time in a decade, while Canada will hope to go one better than their second-place finishes of 2013 and 2015 having seen off the USA in the qualification process.
Portugal have medalled at the last two tournaments and many of the players on show in Uruguay and Romania have already been capped at senior level, proving that the U20 Trophy is just as rich a pathway to higher honours as its sister competition, the U20 Championship.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby U20 Trophy is a fantastic platform offering the sport’s future stars from emerging and established rugby nations a chance to shine on the global stage. More than 470 players have so far made the transition from appearing in the U20 Trophy to achieving senior test player status for their country and I would expect even more to make that progression in 2019.
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Tonga vs Canada 6pm
Japan vs Brazil 8pm
Kenya vs Uruguay 11pm
Portugal vs Hong Kong 1am
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Tonga vs Hong Kong 6pm
Japan vs Uruguay 8pm
Portugal vs Canada 11pm
Kenya vs Brazil 1am
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Hong Kong vs Canada 6pm
Tonga vs Portugal 8pm
Japan vs Kenya 11pm
Uruguay vs Brazil 1am
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Group A 4th vs Group B 4th -6pm
Group A 3rd vs Group B 3rd -8pm
Group A 2nd vs Group B 2nd -11pm
Group A 1st vs Group B 1st -1am
Kenya U20 squad
Ian Njenga(Nondescripts RFC), Bonface Ochieng(Kenya Harlequins)- Captain, Rotuk Rahedi(Millfield School), Emanuel Silungi(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Hibrahim Ayoo(Menengai Oilers),
James Mcgreevy(Kenya Harlequins), Brian Amaitsa(Nondies), Sheldon Kahi(Blakblad RC) Samuel Asati(KCB RC)-VC, Dominic Coulson(Unattached)-VC, Timothy Okwemba(MMUST),
Owain Ashley(Merchiston Castle School), John Okoth(Top Fry Nakuru), Geoffrey Okwach(KCB RC), Jeff Mutuku(Kenya Harlequins), Wilfred Waswa(Northern Suburbs), Collins Obure(Blakblad RFC),
Ian Masheti(Resolution Impala Saracens), Frank Aduda(Resolution Impala Saracens), George Kyriazi(Merchiston Castle School), Samuel Were(LaiserHill Academy), Barry Robinson(Kabras Sugar RFC),
Douglas Kahuri(Kenya Harlequins), Michele Brighetti(Sedbergh School), Andrew Matoka(Strathmore Leos), Andrew Siminyu(Hillcrest School SA).
Technical Team: Paul Odera(Head Coach), Jimmy Mnene(Team Manager), Michael Owino(Strength and Conditioning Coach), Michael Aung(Forwards Coach), Kenny Andola(Backs Coach),
Stephen Mankone(Team Physiotherapist), James Ondiege(Team Doctor), Edwin Boit(Team Analyst) Mweti Muriithi(Logistics and Operations Assistant)
-By World Rugby