Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Baby Blacks to compete in new U20 Rugby Championship

By Finn Morton
New Zealand U20s at the World Championships in South Africa. Photo: World Rugby.

The Junior Wallabies and Baby Blacks will compete in a new SANZAAR U20 Rugby Championship in 2024 alongside Argentina and South Africa.


SANZAAR made the announcement on Thursday, with the competition set to take place over three weeks on the Gold Coast in April.

South Africa was the pick of these four nations at the recent World Rugby U20 Championships, with the Junior Boks finishing in third place.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Australia, who beat New Zealand in two of three meetings this year, finished in fifth – two spots higher than the Baby Blacks. As for Argentina, they were a couple of spots back in ninth.

This competition will pit the best up-and-coming talent in southern hemisphere rugby against one another, as they look to take the next step in their development and careers.

“It has long been recognised that the missing link in our junior pathways was the existence of a SANZAAR international championship for up-and-coming talent,” SANZAAR and RA Chairman Hamish McLennan said.

“I am really excited that SANZAAR is now committing to this new championship.



“The SANZAAR member unions and I are confident its establishment can only strengthen rugby pathways for young players in the southern hemisphere.

“Exposure to additional international matches can only benefit the players in terms of experience and adapting to the demands of the top level of rugby.”

Throughout the U20 Championships in South Africa, the southern hemisphere nations struggled to match the physicality and skillsets presented by their northern rivals.

France won the title for the third consecutive time, while Ireland can be proud of their efforts as they finished in second.


New Zealand was well off the mark, and Australia couldn’t quite reach the heights that some might have expected of them.

But as SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris said, this competition – which is similar to the Six Nations U20s Championship – will become “a vital step in the progression of young talent.”

“This is a vital step in the progression of young talent across our member unions as importantly it will provide extra development opportunities each year for players, coaches, team management and match officials, and will allow for better preparation into the World Rugby Championships,” Morris added.

“There is still some detail to put in place and we will announce this as we approach the kick-off of the inaugural tournament.

“The member unions are all committed to ensuring the U20 tournament is a best practice event that develops the young talent they have at their disposal.”


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Scott 365 days ago

Finally. It is absolutely shocking it has taken SANZAAR so long to respond to the Six Nations U20 Competition which has clearly benefitted France and Ireland. So in future years, SANZAAR U20s will be on a more level playing field and this will benefit their national men’s teams.

The Oceania U20s competition was a joke. It simply does not prepare those teams for big forward play.

Andrew 366 days ago

Marvellous. Long overdue.

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Shaylen 7 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

45 Go to comments
FEATURE 'Ireland could end up with 20 Lions after winning back the world's respect' 'Ireland could end up with 20 Lions after winning back the world's respect'