WORLD RUGBY U20 CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
Winners: New Zealand
When: 31 May-18 June
Where: Kutaisi and Tbilisi, Georgia
Final standings: 1. New Zealand 2. England 3. South Africa 4. France 5. Scotland 6. Australia 7. Wales 8. Italy 9. Ireland 10. Georgia 11. Argentina 12. Samoa
Leading points scorer: Tiaan Falcon (New Zealand), 69
Leading try scorer: Juarno Augustus (South Africa), seven
Click HERE for full results
"It feels amazing, it’s been our goal for a long time – you feel it inside. It’s really exciting"
- Record breakers: The records fell in the final as New Zealand produced a sublime display of power and attacking rugby which England simply had no answer to. The emphatic 64-17 victory in the Georgian capital bettered New Zealand’s previous record points haul and winning margin in a final. Nine of the record 10 tries they scored, though, surprisingly came from their forwards with hooker Asafo Aumua becoming only the second player to score a hat-trick in a title decider.
- Welcome to Georgia: The host nation welcomed the participating teams and fans with open arms, reflecting their saying that every guest is a gift from God. The atmosphere at matches was electric, especially whenever the Junior Lelos were playing, as Georgia showed its passion for rugby.
- Historic draw: South Africa and France did what no other teams have done in U20 Championship history with a 23-23 draw on the opening day, Curwin Bosch’s last-gasp conversion breaking French hearts at Avchala Stadium. Thirteen other matches were decided by seven points or less, highlighting the competitiveness of the tournament.
- Unfamiliar territory: Italy have become accustomed to battling relegation on the final day, but this time they were able to enjoy the knockout stages safe in the knowledge they were guaranteed a top-eight finish for the first time. Regarded by many as the best Italian side to play at this level, Alessandro Troncon’s charges ultimately finished eighth. Scotland would also record their highest finish of fifth after victories over 2016 runners-up Ireland, Wales and Australia along the way.
- Pathway to the top: More than 550 players have graduated from the U20 Championship to the test arena since the tournament was introduced in 2008, among them Curwin Bosch (South Africa), Jordan Uelese (Australia), Mirian Modebadze (Georgia) and Giovanni Licata (Italy) who all played in the 2017 edition.
WORLD RUGBY U20 TROPHY 2017
When: 29 August – 10 September
Where: Montevideo and Punta del Este, Uruguay
Final standings: 1. Japan 2. Portugal 3. Uruguay 4. Namibia 5. Chile 6. Fiji 7. Canada 8. Hong Kong
Leading points scorer: Alejo Piazza, 40 points (Uruguay)
Leading try scorer: Faulua Makisi 6 tries, (Japan)
Click HERE for full results
"I’m very pleased for Japan Rugby that we have secured an opportunity to play against the world’s top-ranked teams again. It is very important for our future development. I strongly believe that this group of players will only keep growing from here"
- Bouncing back
Japan realised their goal of winning promotion back to the World Rugby U20 Championship at the first attempt after beating Portugal 14-3 in a weather-affected final. A sixth try of the tournament for impressive back-row Faulua Makisi and a penalty try had put Japan in a commanding position when the match was abandoned after 67 minutes on player welfare grounds due to the presence of widespread thunder and lightning in the area.
- Surprise package
Indomitable Portugal showed plenty of guts and determination and no little skill to reach their first U20 Trophy final. The European U19 champions made everyone sit up and take notice when they took down hosts Uruguay 20-18 on day one before withstanding a fight-back from Hong Kong to win their second match, 31-24. History beckoned if they could beat Fiji and, leading 13-0 at half-time, they looked home and hosed. However, Fiji were on level terms within 13 minutes of the restart and it took Jorge Abecasis’ 71st-minute penalty to see them through. Even then, Fiji could have forced a draw and denied Portugal a place in the final, but Jamie Kotz’s last-minute penalty struck the post.