Zimbabwe to host major rugby tournament

Zimbabwe to host major rugby tournament

ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe national Under-20 rugby team was thrown a lifeline by the International Rugby Board (IRB) after the country was accorded the rights to host the Junior World Rugby Trophy finals next year.

Yesterday, the IRB announced that the tournament would be hosted at Harare Sports Club.

The World Rugby Council has approved the decision to take the tournament to Zimbabwe which will take place on four match days from April 19 to May 1, 2016.

Eight teams are set to battle it out, with a spot at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 on offer for the winner.

Hosts Zimbabwe qualify automatically for the tournament and will be joined by South America’s Uruguay, African qualifier Namibia and Samoa, who were relegated from this year’s U20 Championship.

The remaining four teams will be regional qualifiers from Europe, North America, Oceania and Asia.The Young Sables had suffered a heartbreak after an extra time defeat to Nambia, having led towards the end of regulation time only to concede a converted try.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president John Falkenberg said: “We are very pleased and excited that the U20 Trophy will be held in Harare in 2016. I would like to thank World Rugby for their confidence and commitment. Being awarded the hosting rights for this prestigious tournament will have a lasting impact on the development of the game, not just in Zimbabwe where we have a long and proud heritage that continues to grow, but also in the region.

“Hosting and participating in the World Rugby U20 Trophy is an achievement that will inspire and encourage players and fans and promote rugby as a leading sport in the country.”

With more than 600 graduates making the leap from the U20 ranks to the Test arena since 2008, the World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy competitions are becoming more and more important in the development of the future stars of world rugby.

World Rugby head of competitions and performance Mark Egan said: “We’re excited about bringing such a prestigious tournament to Zimbabwe for the first time. I have no doubt that fans will see some excellent rugby on display and that the ZRU will work tirelessly to ensure that this is a fantastic event for both fans and players and that an excellent legacy programme for the future growth of the game in Zimbabwe will be delivered.

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