The match schedule has been announced for the World Rugby U20 Championship, which will take place in France between 30 May and 17 June, 2018.
Three venues will host the tournament in the Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan, Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers and the Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l'Amitié in Narbonne.
The pool matches will be played across these venues with hosts France, defending champions New Zealand and former winners England among others set to play in all three cities, adding to the excitement for local fans.
The draw, based on rankings from the 2017 edition in Georgia, sees New Zealand joined in Pool A by Australia, Wales – both former runners-up – and World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 winners Japan.
2017 runners-up England will face Argentina, Italy and Scotland in Pool B, while bronze medallists South Africa will meet hosts France, Ireland and Georgia in Pool C.
Narbonne and Perpignan will host the semi-finals and ranking play-offs on 12 June, with Béziers hosting all finals day matches on 17 June across two pitches.
View the full schedule >>
Ten years on from the inaugural U20 Championship in Wales in 2008, the number of players to graduate from the tournament to the test arena now stands at almost 570.
Six players have made that step since the 2017 edition in Georgia to join the likes of Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, double Rugby World Cup winner Sam Whitelock, Australia’s David Pocock, Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo and France’s Yoann Maestri who all played in the inaugural tournament in 2008.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The scene is set for a superb World Rugby U20 Championship in France. We have three excellent host cities, great venues and a compelling match schedule.
“It will be fascinating to see who will join the likes of Sam Warburton, Nemani Nadolo, Sam Whitelock, David Pocock and Yoann Maestri in graduating from the tournament to become test stars.”
Fédération Française de Rugby President Bernard Laporte said: “The World Rugby U20 Championship that will take place across three venues in the Occitanie region is due to be a fantastic event. It will be an opportunity to enjoy some spectacular rugby produced by the best young players and to discover before everybody else the next rugby stars who will play in the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.”
The 2017 Championship was the most socially-engaged to date, generating 40 million video views as World Rugby amended its broadcast model to ensure that fans around the world could access and be inspired by some of the best rugby around.
Information on ticketing for the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018 will be announced next month.