With just over 100 days to go until the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 gets underway in Salt Lake City, the venue, pools and match schedule have been announced for the key international tournament.
The showcase IRB 15s tournament will see Utah’s Murray Field take center stage, hosting four back to back matches across the four match days, kicking off on Monday, June 18.
“Salt Lake City is gearing itself up for a wonderful tournament and the opportunity to showcase the game across the country, with high-quality rugby and some of the best young players in the world on show,” said Nigel Melville, USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations.
“This region is a hotbed of rugby in the U.S., with the game expanding in schools, high schools and through strategic college programs. We expect thousands of fans to embrace the chance to see elite rugby and cheer on the USA team, and teams such as Tonga which will be well supported by the local population.”
Reflecting the strong collaboration between USA Rugby, the IRB and Rugby World Cup 2011 rights holding broadcaster NBC Sports, the tournament will enjoy full coverage via www.usarugby.org with all 16 matches being streamed live.
The hosts will face pre-tournament favorites Tonga on the opening day, but not before Japan, who have finished runners-up for the past two years, take on the hugely improved Zimbabwe, Chile face Russia and Georgia play Canada in the eight-team event.
The format will see the winners of the two pools face each other in the Final on Saturday, June 30 to claim the title and with it promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.
“Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the US and therefore it is wholly appropriate that one of our flagship events should be hosted by a country that has a huge appetite and enthusiasm for the sport,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset.
“I am sure that Salt Lake City will be exceptional hosts and that USA Rugby will maximize the potential of this event to further boost awareness and participation.
“The single venue format together with some hugely anticipated matches, including the USA in action against Russia and Tonga, plus the live streaming of all matches to an exciting Rugby market will ensure continued exposure for a sport which is rapidly capturing hearts and minds.”
Preparations are on track with tournament organizers anticipating huge interest in a sport, which continues to gain significant momentum in one of the world’s major markets, particularly following the decision to admit rugby 7s to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.