The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2023 kicks off a month from today with an exciting opening encounter between Zimbabwe and Scotland U20 at 10:00 local time (GMT+3). The tournament runs from 15-30 July with all matches taking place at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya.
It is the second time Kenya are hosting the U20 Trophy, having done so in 2009 when the tournament was known as the Junior World Rugby Trophy. Kenya finished that tournament in fourth place after a 19-17 third-place play-off defeat to Chile, which remains their best U20 Trophy finish to date.
Besides the silverware, the eight competing teams will also be playing for a spot in the World Rugby U20 Championship next year in South Africa. The winners will be promoted to the U20 Championship replacing the team that finishes bottom in that competition (24 June – 14 July, South Africa) who will drop down to the U20 Trophy in 2024.
The USA secured the final spot in the World Rugby U20 Trophy field on Saturday after winning their two-legged North American play-off against Canada 82-35 on aggregate. The USA won the first leg 43-21 in South Carolina on 6 June before running out 39-14 winners in the second four days later.
It is the first time that the Junior All-Americans will return to the World Rugby U20 Trophy since 2016 when they finished fifth. They will hope to replicate their 2012 success when they lifted the trophy on home soil in Utah.
Scotland are the only team new to the U20 Trophy, having been relegated from the U20 Championship in 2019. The others have all played at least one tournament with Uruguay, USA and Spain former winners.
Eight teams, split into two pools, will contest the U20 Trophy. Each team will play three pool matches before a ranking match on the final day.
- Pool A: Scotland, Uruguay, USA and Zimbabwe
- Pool B: Kenya, Spain, Samoa and Hong Kong China
The teams finishing top of their pools will meet in the final with the other six teams facing their corresponding team in the other pool to determine the rankings from third to eighth. The full match schedule can be found here.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Africa hosting two World Rugby U20 tournaments consecutively will be exciting to witness and serves as the perfect build-up to Rugby World Cup 2023 which is just under three months away.
“Both South Africa and Kenya have proven their ability to host global age-grade competitions in the past and I have no doubt that these editions will be successful with great interest from local crowds.
“Exciting, hard-fought rugby played in great spirit is always the order of the day, and I am confident that the forthcoming tournaments will be no different.”
Eight match officials from seven nations have been appointed for the tournament, including Kat Roche (USA) and Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe) who will make history as the first females to officiate at the World Rugby U20 Trophy.
World Rugby U20 Trophy match officials: Sylvain Mane (Senegal), Cauã Ricardo Santos Maria (Brazil), Robin Kaluzniak (Canada), Tevita Rokovereni (Fiji), Kat Roche (USA), Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe), Saba Abulashvili (Georgia), Craig Chan (Hong Kong China).
Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, Alexander Mutai said: “Kenya is extremely honoured to again host this tournament, having first hosted it in 2009. We extend a warm welcome to the next generation of global rugby talent, and we hope that all teams put up a great show and get to experience and enjoy the warm hospitality that our country is renowned for. Karibuni Kenya (Welcome to Kenya)!”