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What to watch in men’s rugby: U20 Trophy kicks off as Championship continues

By Martyn Thomas
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Jurenzo Julius of South Africa scores a try during The Rugby Championship U20 Round 3 match between Argentina and South Africa at Sunshine Coast Stadium on May 12, 2024 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

We stand at the start of another huge week of international age-grade rugby, and you can watch it all live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

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Having watched the World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 get underway in style in Cape Town last weekend, now is the time for the players in the second tier to shine.

The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024 kicks off at Edinburgh’s Hive Stadium on Tuesday, with hosts Scotland one of eight teams targeting promotion to the U20 Championship over the next fortnight.

On Thursday, meanwhile, the U20 Championship continues in Cape Town and Stellenbosch as the competing nations jostle for a place in the semi-finals.

The second round of the U20 Trophy pool stage then follows on Sunday.

U20 Trophy set for kick-off

Eight teams have gathered on the U20 Trophy start line in Edinburgh with their eyes set firmly on promotion to next year’s U20 Championship.

Hive Stadium will host 16 matches over the next two weeks as those eight nations are whittled down to one winner, and you can watch all the action with RugbyPass TV.

Scotland will hope home comforts can help them take the step back to the top tier of men’s age-grade international rugby at the second time of asking.

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Last year’s tournament in Nairobi was their first campaign at this level, having been relegated from the U20 Championship in 2019. Uruguay put paid to their hopes of an instant return, running out 37-26 victors in the teams’ final pool-stage match 12 months ago.

Scotland overcame Samoa 83-10 to win the third-place play-off, and they will begin their quest for promotion against the same opposition in Pool A on Tuesday (kick-off 14:30 BST).

Kenneth Murray’s team, who finished bottom of the 2024 U20 Six Nations standings, then face Hong Kong China next Sunday (kick-off 14:30 BST) and finish their pool-stage campaign against Japan five days later (kick-off 19:45 BST).

Japan lost all five matches during the 2023 U20 Championship, losing their place at the top table with a 45-27 defeat to Italy.

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In Pool B, Scotland’s 2023 conquerors Uruguay get their campaign underway against Kenya in the second match of day one (kick-off 14:30 BST).

Los Teritos had their promotion hopes extinguished by a late Diego Gonzalez Blanco try 12 months ago as Spain ran out 39-32 winners in the final.

Second-place was Uruguay’s best finish since they won the inaugural tournament in Chile in 2008 and they will hope this is the year they end their long wait for a return to the U20 Championship.

Uruguay face USA on Sunday (kick-off 11:45 BST) before completing their pool-stage commitments with a match against tournament debutants the Netherlands a week on Friday (kick-off 17:15 BST).

The Dutch earned their place in Edinburgh by winning the 2023 Rugby Europe U20 Championship and will kick-off their maiden campaign against USA on day one (kick-off 19:45 BST).

The Americans won the U20 Trophy on home soil in 2012 but have only appeared in three of the past seven tournaments and finished a disappointing seventh 12 months ago.

You can find out how they get on in Edinburgh with RugbyPass TV. The U20 Trophy is available to stream live and for free around the world, except in the UK.

Tuesday, July 2nd

11:45 BST (GMT+1) – WATCH DAY ONE LIVE HERE

Sunday, July 7th

11:45 BST – WATCH DAY TWO LIVE HERE

Race for U20 Championship semi-finals heats up

Following a thrilling opening day last Saturday, the U20 Championship continues in Cape Town and Stellenbosch on Thursday.

Defending champions France got their Pool A campaign off to a winning start against debutants Spain and they face a blockbuster encounter with New Zealand on day two.

Barnabe Massa and Geoffrey Malaterre each helped themselves to a brace of tries at DHL Stadium as Les Bleuets ran out 49-12 winners.

New Zealand overcame a spirited Wales performance, with Xavi Taele scoring two of their six tries to help secure a 41-34 win at Athlone Stadium.

However, the U20 Rugby Championship winners have not beaten France since 2017, the last time they claimed the overall title, and lost the teams’ two most recent meetings at this level, in 2018 and 2023.

Only the three pool winners are guaranteed their place in the semi-finals, meaning victory is imperative in Stellenbosch.

Wales will hope to rebound from defeat to New Zealand when they take on Spain in the opening match of day two at Athlone Stadium.

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In Pool B, Ireland and Australia put their winning starts to the tournament on the line when they take on Georgia and Italy respectively on Thursday.

Last year’s runners-up Ireland were in imperious form at DHL Stadium last Saturday, Sam Berman helping himself to a hat-trick as Willie Faloon’s side notched eight tries in a 55-15 defeat of Italy.

Australia had a tougher time against the Junior Lelos and trailed between the 16th and 56th minute before five tries in the final 24 minutes gave them a 35-11 victory.

Jack Bracken was the hat-trick hero for three-time champions England in their 40-21 defeat of Argentina on Saturday, and the winger will hope to his tally when they take on Fiji on Thursday.

Fiji lost their opening Pool C match 57-7 to South Africa at DHL Stadium as Jurenzo Julius scored two of the Junior Springboks’ eight tries.

The hosts will hope for more of the same when they take on Los Pumitas in Stellenbosch on Thursday.

South Africa have not lost to Argentina at this level since the 2016 U20 Championship and edged to a 30-28 victory when the teams met in the U20 Rugby Championship in Australia in May. Julius also crossed the whitewash for the Junior Springboks that day.

You can watch all the action from the U20 Championship live and for free via RugbyPass TV, except in Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

Thursday, June 4th

Pool A

13:00 BST (GMT+1) – Wales v Spain, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
15:30 BST – France v New Zealand, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Pool B

13:00 BST – Ireland v Georgia, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
18:00 BST – Australia v Italy, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Pool C

15:30 BST – England v Fiji, Athlone Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE
18:00 BST – South Africa v Argentina, Danie Craven Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Watch the World Rugby U20s Championship live and for free on RugbyPass TV. Register here now
*Unavailable in Africa, NZ, Fiji, Samoa, Papua NG and Tonga

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Nicholas 20 days ago

I have just signed up! I hope I can watch the World Cup rugby U20’s

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