IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy Kicks off in Hong Kong
The International Rugby Board (IRB) Junior World Rugby Trophy for players under 20 years old, started on Monday April 7 at the Hong Kong Football Club.
This competition, one tier below the IRB Junior World Rugby Cup (JWRC) is fully international and the winner will advance to play in the next JWRC 2015. The competition is being played in Asia for the first time.
Eight national teams are taking part, including: USA and Canada (the top two seeded teams); and winners of the regional competitions, Uruguay (South America), Georgia (Europe), Namibia (Africa), Tonga (South Pacific), Japan (Asia) and Hong Kong as the host nation.
USA won the 2012 tournament and played in the JWRC in 2013, but finished last and were relegated to take part in this JWR Trophy series.
The teams in the competition are split into two, Groups A and B, with each team playing three round robin matches to determine group rankings. The finals day, with matches between 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th ranked teams in each group, will determine the final placings.
Group A consists: USA, Georgia, Tonga and Hong Kong; while, Group B consists: Canada, Japan, Uruguay and Namibia.
First round matches were played on Monday April 7, the second round is tomorrow Friday April 11, the third day is Tuesday April 15 and Finals day is on Saturday April 19.
In the matches played on Monday: Japan narrowly lost 28-33 to Uruguay in a very exciting match; Canada lost to Namibia 25-37; Georgia overcame Tonga 34-10; and top seed USA convincingly beat Hong Kong 37-nil.
Host nation Hong Kong put up a good display against the USA holding them down to 8-nil at half time and had several chances to add points, but kicks did not go to plan. Although they battled hard and got close to the USA line on a number of occasions, the USA defence was good enough and they could not get that vital bit further to score.
Matches at the Hong Kong Football Club, tomorrow Friday April 11, start at 1.00pm and are spaced by 2 hour intervals: Japan vs Namibia; USA vs Georgia; Tonga vs Hong Kong; and Canada vs Uruguay.
Matches on Tuesday April 15 are: Georgia vs Hong Kong; USA vs Tonga; Uruguay vs Namibia; and Canada vs Japan.