NZ win hosting rights for 2014 Junior World Champs

Getty Images     29 Nov 2012     Getty Images

- Matches to be played at North Harbour and Pukekohe
- Final possible for Eden Park

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) today thanked the IRB for awarding New Zealand the hosting rights for the Junior World Championship 2014.

"We are very proud to be given the rights to host for the first time yet another important tournament in the international rugby calendar," said NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew.

"We proved to the world last year how well we as a nation could deliver a complex global sporting event and I am sure we will again deliver an excellent tournament that does the country proud."

The tournament will be run by the NZRU, with the assistance of local Provincial Unions and stadium operators. Significant financial support has been promised by the Government and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development which will also help promote the event.

"We have considerable in-house expertise in delivering Test matches which has been strengthened by the involvement of key staff in helping deliver Rugby World Cup 2011 matches. That, coupled with the support of our partners will ensure we stage a successful event."

The tournament will see 12 of the world's top Under 20 teams assemble in New Zealand in June 2014 with 30 matches to be played over three weeks. Matches will be played at North Harbour Stadium and ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe. Eden Park is also being considered as a possible venue for the Final.

"We saw how well New Zealand responded when the rugby world came to our shores last year and I am sure fans will want to see the stars of tomorrow play their hearts out.

"This is a tournament our Under 20 team has won four times and finished runners up to South Africa this year so to host it for the first time is a great opportunity to further our success.

"The Junior World Championship is a proven springboard to the All Blacks and we see the tournament as an extremely important pathway for our emerging talent. To have the chance to play at home I know will be a big motivation for our young players to make the team and do all they can to win."

Seven of the current All Blacks squad have played for the Under 20 team - Sam Whitelock (2008), Aaron Smith (2008), Aaron Cruden (2009), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (2010), Julian Savea (2010), Sam Cane (2011) and Brodie Retallick (2011).

The 2012 Under 20 co-captain Bryn Hall said the tournament was a fantastic opportunity for players to showcase their skills against top opposition.

"It will be a huge thrill for our guys to play in front of a home crowd. It's a tough tournament, but hugely rewarding for players and knowing you have New Zealand fans supporting you all the way I am sure will really spur them on."

All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden said he was really excited about the tournament coming to New Zealand for the first time.

"The Junior World Championship is a fantastic platform for players to achieve higher honours and it certainly helped me to go on and realise my dream of becoming an All Black. New Zealand really turned it on for players from around the world at Rugby World Cup 2011 and I know we'll be great hosts again in 2014."

Italy was also awarded the rights to the 2015 tournament. IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "I'm sure that the teams and travelling fans will be treated to high-quality tournaments set against a backdrop of outstanding hospitality and atmosphere in both countries."

Junior World Championship facts

• Tournament takes place in June 2014 - exact dates to be confirmed.
• The tournament has been played since 2008 and replaced the previous Under 19 and Under 21 world championships.
• 30 matches will be played over three weeks.
• Venues are North Harbour Stadium, ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe and possibly Eden Park for the Final.
• The Government is supporting the event with a capped investment of $1.45 million from the Major Events Development Fund. This is matched by a contribution from Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development. NZRU will also receive all ticketing revenue and funding from the IRB to cover accommodation costs and is forecasting the event to at least break even.
• This year's tournament in South Africa was televised by 17 broadcasters across 127 countries.
• The tournament is expected to generate 37,000 international guest nights from players, officials and supporters.
• New Zealand Under 20 were Junior World Champions in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. finalists in 2012.
• The Junior World Championship 2013 is being held in France next June. Further information on the Junior World Championship is available here