The world’s top 16 teams at U20 level will compete for the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship in Wales from June 6th with South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the USA playing their pool stages in Wrexham.
Five match days will take place throughout June at the Racecourse in Wrexham ensuring top class rugby action for families and rugby fans across North Wales.
Children, coaches and clubs will be beneficiaries of a WRU-devised legacy programme to ensure the tournament leaves a lasting impact for Wales on many levels.
Over 3,000 schoolchildren around Wales will be encouraged to ‘adopt a nation’, learning about the language, culture and heritage of one of the 16 participating countries in an initiative which will allow children to meet with the international players staying, training and playing in their local area. They will also be given free match tickets to watch their ‘adopted nation’ in action and have a chance to win further prizes.
Other beneficiaries of the legacy programme will include community and elite coaches, who will be able to tap the brains of the international coaches coming to Wales, via open training sessions and an elite coaching forum in each region.
Fifteen rugby clubs in Wales have been specifically chosen as ‘host’ clubs for the international teams. They will benefit on two fronts: they will have the chance to keep a range of Rhino training equipment and Webb Ellis balls used by the teams once the teams leave Wales and they will also act as a link between the elite international side and the local community.
A two week long festival of rugby started today along with the launch of the community legacy programme in Wrexham. Children from schools throughout the county are taking part in a mini world cup starting with friendly festivals building into competitive fixtures and culminating in a world cup tournament with each school representing a country in the IRB Junior World Championship.
Marc Roberts, Rugby Development Officer for Wrexham, said, “This program has really captured the imagination of teachers and children alike and has put rugby union firmly in the limelight in what is admittedly a football dominated area.
“The children are relishing the challenges that this festival offers and they are all really excited about the arrival of the national squads and the opportunity to meet, ask questions and watch these stars of the future play.”