The World Rugby U20 Championship will take place in Georgia from 31 May-18 June 2017. The young talented teams will be looking to showcase their skills with the ultimate aim of taking home the Title of World Rugby U20 Champions.
Below we highlight some for the betting favourites going into the tournament.
Traditionally this U20 Rugby Tournament has been dominated by 3 sides namely South Africa, New Zealand and England.
The Junior All Blacks have won the tournament an incredible 5 times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015) and will no doubt be one of the favourites going into this year’s Championship. The squad is coached by Craig Philport who has retained 9 players from last year’s squad. The team will be captained by Luke Jacobson with Jordie Barret as vice-captain. Barret is a super star in the making scoring 52 points in last year’s tournament and shining in his first season of Super Rugby this year. New Zealand is in Pool B with the only real challenge expected to be from last year’s runner up, Ireland.
New Zealand finished fifth last year after failing to reach the semi-finals for the first time in the tournament’s history.
After a poor tournament last year New Zealand will be out to capture their sixth title.
England have a remarkable record in the World Rugby U20 Championship, they have reached the final seven times, winning the title three times in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Last year they comfortably beat Ireland 45-21 in the final and earlier this year they won the U20 Six nations Tournament.
Captain Zach Mercer hails England U20s progress over the last 12 months following their Six Nations Grand Slam.
England will be expected to top Pool A which includes Australia, Wales and Samoa. The team has a number of returning players who have premiership experience including Will Evans whose effectiveness at the breakdown helped them lift the trophy last year. The defending champions are in tremendous form and will be favoured to reach the final.
The Junior Springboks have only won the tournament once in 2012 but have always been a threat finishing in the top 3 spots in 8 tournaments. Last year they finished in fourth place after losing 30-17 to eventual champion England in the Semi-Final. The Junior Boks new coach, Chean Roux has an impressive coaching record having led Maties( Stellenbosch University Rugby) to three Varsity Cups, two National Club Championships and six Western Province club titles.
Last year’s event in Manchester was Theron’s sixth and last tournament in charge of the team, and the baton has now been passed to former Springboks defence coach Chean Roux.
Early season preparation is looking good as the Junior Boks beat Griquas 31-21 in Kimberly and then comfortably beat the Varsity Cup dream team 50-19. Curwin Bosch, Zain Davids and Salmaan Moerat have been named in the squad and will add vital experience having competed in last year’s tournament.
The Junior Springboks have a tough group including Argentina, who they lost to in the 3rd/4th playoff last year, but under new coach will be favoured to top the Group and progress to the knock out stages.
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Betting Odds correct at time of publication.