IRB Junior World Championship 2014 launched

NZ Rugby     30 Nov 2013     NZ Rugby

- 30 matches to be played 2-20 June 2014
- Eden Park to host final on Friday 20 June at 7.35pm
- Low ticket prices - from $5 for children, $10 for adults for 3 matches

Full match schedule can be found here.

The future stars of world rugby – 336 players in 12 teams - will be vying for the right to be called the best Under 20 team in the world when the seventh IRB Junior World Championship (JWC2014) kicks off in New Zealand on 2 June 2014.

Fans are being encouraged to support the teams and tickets have been priced as low as $5 for children. A family of four can attend all three pool matches at one venue on each match day from as little as $30.

Venues, team pools and the match schedule were unveiled at the official launch at St Peter’s College, Auckland today attended by the Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Economic Development, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew and other key partners in the event.

St Peter’s College was chosen to launch JWC2014 because of its strong connection to Under 20s rugby, with recent ex-pupils Francis Saili (a new All Black in 2013) and Blues players Bryn Hall and Patrick Tuipulotu having played for the school 1st XV in recent years.

Matches at Eden Park, North Harbour and Pukekohe

Eden Park will host three matches including the final on Friday 20 June 2014 at 7.35pm with all other matches including semi-finals to be played at North Harbour Stadium and ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe. Matches will be played on 2, 6, 10, 15 and 20 June.

“We are incredibly proud to once again play host to the rugby world,” said New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew.

“This is the biggest fifteens tournament in the world outside Rugby World Cup and to be given the chance to stage such an important rugby event for the first time is a great honour.

“Two years ago we delivered a very successful Rugby World Cup. I am confident we can once again stage a very special event that will make our country proud while also providing an excellent platform for the best young players in world rugby to perform to their potential.”

Hosting JWC2014 in New Zealand has been made possible through the significant support provided by the Government (through the Major Events Development Fund) and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, who have each invested $1.45m in the Tournament.

IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said preparations were well on track.

"Following the massive success of Rugby World Cup 2011, it's great to be back in New Zealand and getting ready for what promises to be an extraordinary tournament.

"The JWC, which is now more competitive than ever, has grown massively as a result of its open, running rugby, its values and the chance for fans to see the future stars of world rugby."

Exciting match-ups in pool play

The 12 participating teams will play in three pools. Defending champions England, who won JWC2013 in France this year, take on Argentina, Australia and Italy in Pool A. Four teams who have yet to win the JWC, make up Pool B – France, Wales, Ireland and Fiji.

Four times winner New Zealand have been drawn in Pool C and will face South Africa who beat them in the 2012 final, as well as Samoa and Scotland.

The opening day of the tournament takes place on Queens Birthday Monday, 2 June, consisting of 6 great matches, starting with Argentina taking on Australia at ECOLight Stadium and concluding with New Zealand playing Samoa at North Harbour Stadium.

See the full match schedule.

New Zealand Rugby said it hoped fans would flock to matches.

“We really want fans to make the most of this opportunity to see such great young players from around the world up close so we have tried to keep ticket prices as low as possible,” said Steve Tew.

Ticket prices start at $5 for children and $10 for adults. A family of four can watch all three matches on one day at ECOLight Stadium for $30 and North Harbour Stadium for $40. A family of four can also purchase venue packs for all matches at ECOLight Stadium plus the finals at Eden Park for $110 and for North Harbour, the price is just $150.

“It’s going to be a hugely exciting spectacle for fans. In this year’s championship in France an average of six tries were scored in each match so I am sure we are in for an action packed 19 day tournament.”

Tickets go on sale next year.

JWC springboard to higher honours

The IRB JWC is a proven stepping stone to the Test arena with around 250 players from past championships going on to represent their country. 17 members of the current All Blacks squad have risen through the Under 20 ranks.

“It’s a really significant tournament for young players and you just need to look at the performance of the All Blacks this year to know that the Junior World Championship provides an important pathway for players to fulfil their potential,” said Tew.

All Black no. 1126 Francis Saili captained the St Peter’s College First XV and was a member of the Junior World Championship winning New Zealand Under 20 team in 2011.

“I have very special memories of my time with the Under 20 team,” said Saili. “It’s been really important in helping me realise my dream of becoming an All Black and I know for the young guys who get selected next year it will be an amazing experience to play in front of a home crowd.”

Kawau anchors design of JWC2014

The branding chosen for the tournament underlined key themes of the JWC said Tew.

“The Maori designs are based on the black shag or kawau and more precisely the neck of the kawau as it is stretched out, ready for flight. This moment symbolises the bird’s potential, youth and vigour – very much like the great young players we welcome next year who are embarking on their rugby journey at the elite level.”

See attached fact sheet for full explanation of the tournament look and feel.