Georgia to Host World Rugby U20 Championship 2017
The World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 will be held in Tbilisi and Kutaisi from May 31 to June 18.
The top 12 U20 teams, including Junior Lelos, will take part in the largest tournament men’s rugby 15’s tournaments besides Rugby World Cup.
This year’s championship participants are: England, Ireland, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand Australia, Wales, Scotland, France, Georgia, Italy, and Samoa (replaced Japan after their relegation in 2016.)
The competition consists of five match days. The group stage (May 31st, June 4th and June 8th ) will be held in two cities - Tbilisi (Avchala Stadium) and Kutaisi (Aia Arena); playoffs and finals (June 14th and June 18th) will be held in Tbilisi at Avchala and Mikheil Meskhi Stadiums.
Junior Lelos participated for the first time in the World Rugby U20 Championship last year in Manchester, after winning a third tier competition, the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2015 in Lisbon.
The debut was significant for Junior Lelos, as by wining against Italy in the playoffs, they claimed the tenth position.
Since 2008, over 500 graduates of U20 Championship have gone on to play test rugby.
Georgian U20 graduates from last years’ competition Vasil Lobzhanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Otar Giorgadze, Gela Aprasidze, Lasha Tabidze, Irakli Svanidze, Tornike Mataradze and Giorgi Tsutskiridze have already gotten their portion of fame and glory in test rugby, playing for The Lelos. Although Vasil Lobzhanidze’s debut for the Senior Georgia team was back at RWC 2015, when at the age of 18 he became the youngest ever player to appear in a Rugby World Cup.
The World Rugby U20 Championship has been held since 2008. Initially 16 teams participated, but in 2010 the number of teams was decreased to 12. Since the reorganization, Georgia has become the first second tier rugby union given a privilege of hosting the tournament.
The fact that Georgia is hosting such an important event is a sign of recognition of Georgia’s progress, and also it is a huge responsibility for the country.
Traditionally, before the championship begins, the U20 trophy starts its journey through the host country. This year, it will be taken to several notable destinations in Georgia, which will give the country an opportunity to introduce its culture to the world and to show off its potential for tourism.
The U20 Championship will be attended by the number of rugby stars and fans from all around the world.
This year’s notable guest list includes: World Rugby chairman, the former RFU president and the former England and British and Irish Lions player, Bill Beaumont and the legendary former captain of Pumas and Vice-Chairman of World Rugby- Agustín Pichot.
Georgian National Rugby Union holds U20 championship in partnership with TBC Bank.
The President of Ruby Union in Georgia, Gocha Svanidze, said that state agencies, as well as private sector are involved in the organizing process of the championship.
“I hope we will succeed and offer a good show to rugby fans,” he added.
General Director of TBC Bank, Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, said that May 31-June 18 will be special days not only for rugby fans but for the whole country.
“TBC bank is the official partner of Rugby U20 Championship and we will do our best to ensure that our country is presented properly,” he said.
Tickets for the matches including the Play Offs and Finals are available at www.ticket.ge/U20.