Big count­down begins to World Rugby cham­pi­onship

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●» WORLD Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship: Eng­land has fewer than 100 Days to Go THE count­down to the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship has be­gun, with fewer than 100 Days to Go un­til the com­pe­ti­tion kicks-off at the AJ Bell Sta­dium, home of Sale Sharks.

Cred­ited with show­cas­ing the fu­ture stars of rugby, the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship heads to Manch­ester in June for three weeks of top-class sport­ing ac­tion. Hosted by the Rugby Foot­ball Union (RFU), the tour­na­ment will take place across two venues: the AJ Bell Sta­dium and Manch­ester City’s Academy Sta­dium.

The U20 tour­na­ment has helped pro­duce the likes of cur­rent Eng­land se­nior play­ers Jack Now­ell, Ge­orge Ford and Owen Far­rell – who helped launch ‘100 Days to Go’ at their train­ing base this week – as well as Rugby World Cup win­ners Sam White­lock, Brodie Re­tal­lick, Sam Cane, Ju­lian Savea and Aaron Smith of New Zealand. Since 2008, 31 Eng­land play­ers have pro­gressed from the U20 com­pe­ti­tion into the Se­nior team, in­clud­ing Maro Itoje, Jack Clif­ford and Paul Hill.

Speak­ing about the tour­na­ment, Eng­land wing Jack Now­ell said:

“Win­ning the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship was a re­ally sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for me. To rep­re­sent Eng­land in a fi­nal with such a tal­ented group of play­ers was ex­tra spe­cial. The list of grad­u­ates from the tour­na­ment speaks for it­self. To have the com­pe­ti­tion in Eng­land this year will be amaz­ing. I know we mas­sively ben­e­fited from the trav­el­ling sup­port we had out in France in 2013, so to have that on home soil will be huge for the U20s play­ers.”

Now, with just 100 days to go un­til the com­pe­ti­tion kicks-off on June 7, the RFU has re­leased the Get In­volved pack, out­lin­ing the ways in which schools, clubs and wider com­mu­ni­ties can con­nect with the com­pe­ti­tion.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clude adopt­ing a team and putting your cre­ative skills to work, tak­ing part in the Tro­phy Tour or a Team Wel­come Cer­e­mony and com­pe­ti­tions to win ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ences.

To down­load the Get In­volved pack, visit the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship hub at www.eng­lan­ u20cham­pi­onship.

Com­ment­ing on the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able, RFU rugby de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Steve Grainger said: “A key pri­or­ity for the Union in host­ing this tour­na­ment is mak­ing sure we en­gage as many clubs, schools and com­mu­ni­ties as pos­si­ble, par­tic­u­larly in the North West. There is a mul­ti­tude of ways to get in­volved in the tour­na­ment, which will not only en­cour­age at­ten­dance at the matches them­selves but also hope­fully drive an in­crease in rugby par­tic­i­pa­tion lev­els for the ben­e­fit of the wider game.”

World Rugby chair­man, Bernard La­pas­set added: “The U20 Cham­pi­onship is a path­way for the fu­ture stars of the game to de­velop and we’ve seen in re­cent years just how im­por­tant it has be­come.

“With al­most 400 play­ers mak­ing the step up from the un­der-20 ranks to the in­ter­na­tional test arena, it is now a cru­cial step­ping-stone.

“I have no doubt that Manch­ester will pro­vide an ex­cel­lent base for the world’s top un­der-20 teams and it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to bring a world-class rugby event to the city and grow the game even fur­ther af­ter a fantastic Rugby World Cup in Eng­land last year.”

See the Fu­ture Stars of Rugby at the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship in Manch­ester this June. For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing how to buy tick­ets: eng­lan­drugby. com/u20cham­pi­onship #Fu­tureS­tar­sofRugby

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