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What to watch in men's rugby: U20 Championship, Trophy races heat up

By Martyn Thomas
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 04: Alex Wills of England during the World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 match between England and Fiji at Athlone Stadium on July 04, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher-Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It is another busy week of international action on RugbyPass TV as the World Rugby U20 Championship and World Rugby U20 Trophy continue and Canada host Romania in Ottawa.


The race to win the U20 Championship will wind its way towards the finishing straight this week as the final round of pool matches are played before the knockout stages get underway.

Nine teams remain in the hunt for the title ahead of day three, while five teams can still secure promotion to next year’s tournament from the U20 Trophy.

Scotland face a winner-takes-all clash against Japan in Pool A in Edinburgh, while USA will book their place in the Trophy final if they avoid defeat against Kenya.

Elsewhere, Canada will hope to bounce back from a heavy defeat to Scotland when they take on Romania in Ottawa.

You can watch all of the action live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

U20 Championship finishing straight in sight

On Tuesday, the U20 Championship pool stage will draw to a close with something on the line in all six matches in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Nine of the 12 teams competing in South Africa will arrive at Athlone Stadium or Danie Craven Stadium with a shot at ending day three in the semi-finals.


The opening match in Cape Town pits Ireland against Australia, with the Irish knowing they will top Pool B and qualify for the semi-finals if they avoid defeat.

If Australia win, though, and the teams finish level on points it will be the Junior Wallabies who top the pool having beaten Ireland.

The other match in Pool B on Tuesday will see Georgia take on Italy, who earned a memorable victory against Australia in the second round.

Despite that standout result, the Azzurrini cannot leapfrog Ireland as they lost 55-15 to them on day one and they are unlikely to force their way into the semi-finals as a best runner-up as they haven’t yet picked up a bonus point.



In the opening match of the day at Danie Craven Stadium, Argentina take on Fiji needing a bonus-point victory to have any hope of reaching the semi-finals.

Their Pool C rivals, hosts South Africa and England, meet in the third match at Athlone Stadium with the latter requiring only a point to make sure of top spot and their place in the last four.

In Pool A, meanwhile, New Zealand top the standings with a three-point cushion over Wales and four-point lead over France, ahead of their final pool-stage commitment against Spain.

Three-time defending champions France need to beat Wales with a bonus-point to have any chance of leapfrogging them and New Zealand.

A Welsh victory would leave them with a good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals as the best second-placed side if New Zealand then beat Spain as expected.

Following the third and final round of pool matches, the Cup and placing semi-finals will be played on Sunday and you can watch all the action live and for free with RugbyPass TV (except in Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tonga).

Tuesday, July 9th

Pool A

15:30 BST (GMT+1) – France v Wales, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
18:00 BST – New Zealand v Spain, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Pool B

13:00 BST – Ireland v Australia, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
15:30 BST – Georgia v Italy, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Pool C

13:00 BST – Argentina v Fiji, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
18:00 BST – South Africa v England, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Sunday, July 14th

13:00 BST – Placing semi-finals, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
13:00 BST – Fifth-place semi-final and Cup semi-finals, DHL Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

U20 Trophy final places up for grabs

On Friday, the U20 Trophy pool stage will reach its conclusion with five teams still in contention for promotion to next year’s Championship.

The action will get underway at Hive Stadium when Samoa take on Hong Kong China at 11:45 local time (GMT+1) but neither team can qualify from Pool A having lost their opening matches.

USA will then play Kenya, with the Americans knowing that a draw would be enough to take them through to the final thanks to their 44-33 victory against Netherlands on day one.

The result of that match will have a bearing on the Dutch’s encounter with Uruguay in the penultimate match of day three.


Should USA beat Kenya, avoid defeat or pick up two bonus points, then the winner of the Los Teritos’ meeting with the Netherlands will not be able to scale the top of the pool.

Hosts Scotland will run out at Hive Stadium at the end of day three for a winner-takes-all match against Japan.

Both teams head into the match with two wins from two, meaning the winner will top Pool A and qualify for the 2024 U20 Trophy final. Should the match end in a draw then Scotland will finish above Japan on points difference.

You can watch all the action live and for free on RugbyPass TV globally, except for the final match of day three, which is geo-blocked in the UK and Japan.

Friday, July 12th

Pool A

11:45 BST (GMT+1) – Samoa v Hong Kong China, Hive Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
19:45 BST – Scotland v Japan, Hive Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Pool B

14:30 BST – Kenya v USA, Hive Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
17:15 BST – Uruguay v Netherlands, Hive Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Can Canada chop down Oaks?

Canada, wounded by a chastening defeat to Scotland in Ottawa last weekend, welcome Romania to TD Place Stadium on Friday (local time) as they continue their preparations for next month’s Pacific Nations Cup.

Lucas Rumball scored the opening try of the match against Scotland, but it was one-way traffic from that point on as Gregor Townsend’s side ran out comfortable 73-12 winners.

The result dropped Canada one place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings, to 22nd but home fans will hope they fare better against the Oaks.


Romania start the match two places ahead of their hosts in the rankings, and Canada will climb above them if they win by more than 15 points.

The Oaks head into the match in form, though, having beaten USA 22-20 in Chicago last Friday.

Scrum-half Aline Conache kicked 14 of Romania’s points, while replacement Daniel Plai proved the match-winner as his 68th-minute penalty edged his side to victory.

Find out if Romania can make it two wins from two in North America or whether Canada can rebound from their Scottish disappointment live and for free on RugbyPass TV (except in Canada and Romania).

Saturday, July 13th

00:00 BST (GMT+1) – Canada v Romania, TD Place Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Watch the World Rugby U20s Championship live and for free on RugbyPass TV. Register here now
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Wonton 2 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

18 Go to comments
Nick 3 hours ago
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Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
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