The Welsh Rugby Union has revealed its aim to deliver the 'best age-group tournament ever' when it hosts the inaugural Junior World Championship at Under-20 level from June 6-22.
The top 16 nations in the world will compete for the world title in a new-look tournament which is to replace both the IRB Under-21 and Under-19 World Championships.
IRB Chairman, Dr Syd Millar said: "The IRB is delighted that Wales will host the first IRB Junior World Championship for Under-20 teams next year. There are few countries to rival the rugby heritage of Wales and the prospect of a new international tournament coming to Wales next year will, I am sure, generate a great deal of excitement and interest within the Principality and the wider rugby community.
'We are also delighted so see that the WRU are committed to delivering what promises to be a memorable tournament. In particular, the inception of a regional format will ensure that all rugby fans in Wales will have the opportunity to see the future stars of the game in action
Wales are seeded fourth for the tournament, following their semi-final position at last season's IRB Under-19 World Championship. This gives them the top spot in Pool D which will be based in Swansea while the other three top seeds are New Zealand (Pool A, Cardiff), South Africa (Pool B, Wrexham) and Australia (Pool C, Newport).
The IRB announced its decision to award the staging of the event to Wales at a press conference at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, one of the match venues for the tournament and the venue of the finals day on June 22. The other match venues will be Cardiff Arms Park, Rodney Parade, Newport and the Racecourse, Wrexham.
The Union promised an all-Wales event for the inaugural World Championship at Under-20 level and announced that there will be a comprehensive programme of activity around the tournament which will ensure a lasting legacy to all elements of Welsh rugby, from elite players, coaches and referees to volunteers, players, coaches and administrators in the grassroots game.
The tournament will be used to expose elite, young players in Wales to the high standards practiced by the Under-20 teams visiting the Principality, with a range of coaching clinics and training sessions, while the club and school-based programme of activity around the tournament will benefit the grassroots game across Wales.
WRU chairman and IRB council member for Wales, David Pickering, said: 'It was a key element of our strategy that all of Wales should benefit from this tournament and the development plan in place will make sure of that. We are convinced that North Wales will not only play an integral part of the tournament, but will add something extra to the experience.'
The tournament will benefit from an award of up to £400,000 from UK Sport's National Lottery backed World Class Events Programme, and is already one of six world championship events secured for the UK in 2008 using UK Sport's investment and expertise.
Robin McBryde was assistant coach with Wales during the Championship
27 March 2017, 11:19am
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