World Rugby has announced that France will host the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2018 with matches being played in Béziers, Perpignan and Narbonne. I’d heard that these were going to be held in Scotland or Argentina in 2018 but it looks as tough a bit of horse trading has been going on in the corridors of power.

As it is, it now looks like a pleasant 18 days in the South of France, which is no hardship. 🙂

The actual match days are as follows

Pool Match 1 – 30 May 2018.

Pool Match 2 –  3 June 2018

Pool Match 3 – 7 June 2018

Semi Finals – 12 June 2018

Finals – 17 June 2018.

As before, this compact little tournament features three pools of four teams, with the pool winners and the best runner-up progressing to the semi-finals, the rest of the teams playing off for positional ranking points.

Ireland are in a fairly tough group by virtue of their poor performance in the 2017 Championship when they were decimated by injuries and late withdrawals.

Our boys will need to be prepared for at least three fairly physical encounters as they go head to head with South Africa, France and Georgia in Pool C, the full Pool draw as follows.

Pool A: New Zealand, Australia, Wales and Japan
Pool B: England, Scotland, Italy and Argentina
Pool C: South Africa, France, Ireland and Georgia

Pool matches will be played Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan, Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers and the Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié in Narbonne. The semi-final and final venues will be announced in due course.

The team should feature Ulster’s Jonny Stewart and Angus Curtis, among others, and we’ll get a better feel for which others should be travelling  once the U20 Six Nations Competition gets underway at the beginning of February. .