• Eight captains gathered on West Sands Beach in St Andrews ahead of opening day on 2 July
  • Four matches to be played on opening day at Hive Stadium with kick-off 11:45 local time (GMT+1)
  • Tournament to implement and trial new World Rugby Council approved laws
  • Matches can be watched anywhere in the world through broadcast partners or for free on RugbyPass TV.

The eight captains of the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024 came together on West Sands Beach in St Andrews, Scotland, on Saturday – a location famous for the opening scenes of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

The film, released in 1981, immortalised the story of former Scotland rugby player and 400m Olympic champion from the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the last to feature 15s rugby. One hundred years on rugby sevens returns to the French capital later this month with sevens.

Japan and Hong Kong China have the honour of kicking off the U20 Trophy at 11:45 local time (GMT+1) on Tuesday, 2 July at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh, the former having been relegated after finishing 12th in the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023 in South Africa.

Japan captain Yoshiaki Taian said: “We want to do our best to win this tournament so that we can show what we have done for this competition. It is important to win every single game, and we would like to win all of them and go back to the Championship.“

Tournament hosts Scotland, who finished third in the U20 Trophy in Kenya last year after being relegated from the U20 Championship in 2019, will face Samoa in the other Pool A match at 17:15.

Scotland captain Liam McConnell said: “The whole squad is really excited for this tournament on home soil and has been training hard to hopefully do something special.C

Uruguay, winners of the inaugural U20 Trophy in 2008, will face Kenya in the first Pool B match at 14:30 with 2012 champions USA meeting tournament debutants the Netherlands in the final game of the day at 19:45.

Los Teritos captain Franco Bertini said: “The team is doing well and we expect a good game against Kenya on Tuesday.

“Our hopes, first of all, are to go game by game, with the format of the tournament you have to focus on the next game because if you lose one game you will miss out. We are putting all our expectations towards Kenya for now. It would be incredible [to win the tournament], last year we had a chance to go to the U20 Championship but we stayed in the lower competition. We all know it is an objective of the team but for now we are only thinking about our first game against Kenya.”  

Netherlands captain Kit Temperley added: “It is our first time here so we are really, really excited for it. It is a big thing for the country as a whole and we really can't wait to prove ourselves here. We feel like we should be here and we can't wait to get started. We are taking every moment as it comes, we know it is going to be a high level but we do back ourselves and we can't wait to show how good we are. 

“People probably say something about rugby isn't that big there [the Netherlands] and those type of things, but it is definitely growing and we have got the women in WXV and qualification for the World Cup, the men will be doing World Cup qualification and we are here and we don't think it should be taken lightly that we are here. We are here to make a statement and we can't wait to show ourselves. This will help so much with the younger generations and everyone coming through.”

Each team will play three pool matches with those finishing top of Pool A and B to contest the final on 17 July with the winner to earn promotion to the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2024. The teams finishing second, third and fourth in each pool will meet on the same day to determine the final rankings from third to eighth.

The tournament will feature World Rugby Council approved fan-focused law changes. In addition, six law trials will be implemented, which include the simplified red card sanction process.

The full match schedule is available here.

Fans around the globe can watch the action unfold through local broadcast partners BBC Alba for Scotland matches and the Japan Rugby Football Union for Japan’s matches – or for free on RugbyPass TV in other markets. A two-hour delay will apply in the UK for all Scotland matches as well as the third place play-off and final.

Match official appointments

The match officials have also been confirmed for the opening two rounds with Ru Campbell (Scotland) taking charge of the opening game of the tournament between Japan and Hong Kong China. Ethan Glass (Switzerland) referees Uruguay v Kenya with Katsuki Furuse (Japan) in the middle for Scotland v Samoa. Morgan White (Hong Kong China) takes charge of the last match between the Netherlands and USA.

Round two on Sunday, 7 July sees Sylvain Mané referee the battle of former champions Uruguay and USA in the opening game before Nicolae Fratila (Romania) takes charge of Scotland v Hong Kong China. Caua Ricardo (Brazil) is in the middle for another former champions encounter between Japan and Samoa with Lex Weiner (USA) to referee the Netherlands v Kenya.