Rugby Americas, along with Sudamérica Rugby and the Uruguay Rugby Union, have announced that the inaugural men’s U20 Americas Rugby Championship will take place from 10-18 June at Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo.
The tournament features six nations: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay – who qualified through the recent U19 tournament in Uruguay – representing Sudamérica Rugby, along with Canada and USA from Rugby Americas North.
Furthermore, North American rivals Canada and USA will have additional motivation at the tournament as their opening match will act as a play-off to decide who will compete at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Spain in September.
In recent years the two sides have competed in a two-match series, however this year it’s winner-takes-all. The victorious nation will join Uruguay as participants from the Americas. Argentina will once again compete at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy this June-July.
The U20 Americas Rugby Championship features three triple-header match days, with teams earning four points for a win, two for a draw and a potential for two bonus points by scoring four or more tries or losing by seven points or less. The team with the most tournament points after three rounds will be crowned the winners.
Top seeds Argentina head Pool A and will face third seeds Canada and fifth seeded Chile), while Pool B features second seeds Uruguay, fourth seeds USA and sixth seeded Paraguay.
The senior Americas Rugby Championship, which features the national teams of Canada, USA, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile along with Argentina XV, was created in 2016 as an opportunity to provide the Americas countries with an annual high-level competition to further development.
The Championship, which kicks off later this year in August, has proved invaluable for reaching new audiences across owned and earned media channels and provided significant test match opportunities for Canada, USA, Uruguay and Argentina ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. Argentina XV and USA have each lifted the trophy on two occasions.
It will be a busy year for rugby throughout the Americas, with the third season of Major League Rugby getting underway in less than 10 days, and the inaugural season of the Súperliga Americana de Rugby kicking on 4 March boosting professional competition across South America.
Sudamérica Rugby President Sebastian Piñeyrua said: "For a few years we have been working together with Rugby Americas. In both the north and the south of the continent, we are aligned with our goals and opportunities. We have to fight so that our players find in their unions the possibility of developing and being successful in their future. We still have many challenges together and we are united as a continent to go after them.
“Canada and USA are two countries we consider friends, with multiple ties. To continue the growth of the Americas as a strong continent, with opportunities, is a very important for our unions. The Americas Rugby Championship was very successful in the initial four years; to extend that to the U20s is a huge step for all involved, ensuring continued growth.
“To be able to offer our young players a high-performance (HP) competition is crucial on the road to elite rugby, the national teams and professional rugby. The ARC U20 comes at the right time for individual growth in HP, ensuring the game will grow from north to south.”
Rugby Uruguay President Pablo Ferrrari said: “For Uruguay, it is a great honour to receive the first Americas Rugby Championship U20. Not only because it will remain in history for being the first and having the possibility of being the host country, but because it confirms once again the confidence of World Rugby, and in this case Rugby Americas, in our country as an organiser of major events.
“The arrival of the Americas Rugby Championship U20 means a quality leap for the selected youth in terms of annual competition and will undoubtedly be a determining factor to continue developing more and better players.”
Rugby Americas Chief Executive Officer Dan Payne said: “We’re excited to launch the first-ever Under-20 Men’s Americas Rugby Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay. There’s been a lot of hard work over the last two years to make this tournament happen and we’re thankful for Uruguay Rugby leading as hosts.
“By providing high quality and meaningful competition, this tournament underpins the senior Americas Rugby Championship with youth development in line with how the U20 Americas Rugby Challenge (ARCh) feeds its senior tournament.
“With all four of our key competitions – the senior and Under-20 ARC and ARCh – linked through promotion and relegation, there is a competitive pathway across both North and South America that will fuel continued development.”