World Rugby U20 Championship 2017
© Tamar Kulumbegashvili
Georgia hosts World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 from May 31 to June 18 in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The 12 strongest Under 20 teams, including the Junior Lelos will take part in an annual competition, which is considered to be the largest competition in men 15th tournaments after the Rugby World Cup.
This year’s hosts, the Junior Lelos participated for the first time in the World Rugby U20 Championship last year in Manchester, after wining the third tier competition, the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2015 in Lisbon. The debut was significant for Junior Lelos, as by wining against Italy in play offs, they claimed the Tenth position, thus securing their place as not only this year’s hosts, but also as competitors to host England, Ireland, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand Australia, Wales, Scotland, France, Italy, and Samoa on their home soil.
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Competition consists of 5 match days. The Group Stage (May 31st, June 4th and June 8th ) will be held in two cities - Tbilisi (Avchala Stadium) and Kutaisi (Aia Arena); Playoffs and Finals (June 14th and June 18th) will be held in Tbilisi at Avchala and Mikheil Meskhi Stadiums.
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Since 2008, over 500 graduates of U20 Championship have already played the test rugby. Many stars of World Rugby have represented their nations in previous tournaments, including Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, Sam Whitelock, Aaron Cruden (New Zealand) , David Pocock ,Willy Genia (Australia), Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Maro Itoje ( England).
Georgian U20 graduates from last years’ competition Vasil Lobzkanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Otar Giorgadze, Gela Aprasidze, Lasha Tabidze, irakli Svanidze, Tornike Mataradze and Giorgi Tsutskiridze have already shared their portion of fame and glory in test Rugby playing for The Lelos 2016 and 2017. Although Vasil Lobzhanidze’s debut for the Senior Georgia team was back at RWC 2015, when in the age of 18 he became The Youngest Ever Player to Appear in Rugby World Cup.
© Tamar Kulumbegashvili
Tournament ticket sales started on April 12th, after an official activation event followed by press conference at TBC Bank Gallery in Tbilisi, where the friends and partners of World Rugby U20 Championship gathered to share their excitement about upcoming competition.
General Director of TBC Bank
“May 31 to June 18th will be the most significant days not only for Rugby fans but to whole country and I am sure that the tournament will be held in highest standards, which will once again rise the profile of the country and promote Georgia around the globe. We are privileged to be official partners of the tournament and Georgian Rugby Union and are committed to do everything to showcase our country in the best way possible.
Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs
“Georgia is hosting more than ten international events in different sports this year, among which World Rugby Under 20 Championship definitely is the most outstanding one. We are preparing with all our hearts for this tournament as mostly because, rugby has become our national sport. Hosting of such event is an honor and recognition of hard work performed by current and veteran rugby players, by Georgian Rugby Union and private sector.
“I want to express my special gratitude to ‘Cartu Group’, which has invested more than hundreds of millions into development of Rugby in Georgia over the years. This very support has made it possible for the country to host World Rugby U20 Championship. Thanks to the ‘Cartu Group’, the infrastructure of world standards is at the disposal of future generations of rugby players in Georgia to make the country proud. I want to thank our hosts - TBC Bank for they always support the national initiatives in various areas, including the arts, charities and the sport.
Head of National Administration of Tourism in Georgia
“I want thank everybody whose dedication and hard work has made it possible to host World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia. This is a great effort, implement by government and private sector, which will support the further development of sport in Georgia and raise awareness of country worldwide.
“I am also glad to announce that the tournament trophy will tour the country and we will support media coverage of this tour within the county and abroad. I am sure that this tournament will bring economic benefits to the country as well, as it will be held in frame work of project “Check in Georgia”, which is dedicated to bring more tourists to Georgia thus making country popular and well know in the world. I want to thank the organizers, stakeholders and sponsors of the tournament for making all these possible”
Justin McKenzie Smith
UK Ambassador to Georgia
“Rugby brings Naitons closer to each other. Thanks to this tournament, people traveling from UK and other counties will have the unique opportunity to get to know Georgia, where they will receive very warm welcome and have a chance to explore the Country, which is very proud of its traditions, culture and Rugby. I am sure that relations started during this tournament will continue and we will see the Future Stars of World Rugby returning to Georgia as members of their senior national teams.”
Georgia Rugby Union President
“Georgia takes hosting of this tournament with great deal of responsibility, as everybody in nation, including the Government and the private sector are involved in preparation process. Given the genetically, we Georgians are good hosts, I am sure that the tournament will be held in the best way possible and fans all around the world will witness one of the greatest rugby spectacles in Georgia.
“I want to thank one of the biggest contributor, the Cartu Group for everything what they do for the development of Rugby in Georgia. Have to underline that the works are being held at Avchala Stadium as we speak for the fans from all over the world to experience great tournament. The great deal of material resources is being invested in order to host the tournament in the manner of the highest quality”