The 12 captains gathered at Cape Town City Hall to officially launch the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023, which kicks off in South Africa on Saturday.

  • The World Rugby U20 Championship makes its long-awaited return on Saturday
  • The 12 captains gathered with the coveted trophy in Cape Town’s City Hall to kick-off celebrations
  • Captains’ photo and quotes as well as team media guides are available on the World Rugby Media Zone
  • World Rugby will broadcast the junior tournament on its platforms in countries without a local broadcast partner

The 12 captains gathered at Cape Town City Hall on Wednesday to officially launch the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023, which kicks off in South Africa on Saturday.

The captains all got a closer look at the coveted trophy they will hope to hold aloft on 14 July during the official captains’ photo at Cape Town City Hall, one of South Africa’s most iconic and historical buildings.

The U20 Championship makes its long-awaited return after a four-year absence due to the COVID pandemic, with South Africa hosting the tournament on its Western Cape for the first time since 2012.

France, winners of the last two tournaments in 2018 and 2019, will face six-time champions New Zealand, Wales and Japan in Pool A. Japan are returning to the U20 Championship for the first time since 2018, having secured promotion by the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2019.

French captain Lenni Nouchi said: “We want to play the best rugby that we can. We all know that we have a legacy to live up to, but the teams before us have done their part – it’s our time to shine on our own even though we know we have a lot to live up to.”

Ireland, who were runners-up in 2016, are full of confidence after winning the U20 Six Nations grand slam in March. They are joined in Pool B by 2019 runners-up Australia, three-time winners England and Fiji.

Ireland Captain Gus McCarthy said:  “It’s a real privilege and an honour to captain the boys. We have a very tight group and we are all friends. There are a lot of leaders in the squad so there is no pressure on me, it is all spread out and I am just looking forward to the next three games”, said McCarthy.

South Africa’s only title success came on home soil in 2012 and the current crop of Junior Springboks will hope to make home advantage count when they take on Argentina, Georgia and Italy in Pool B.

South Africa Captain Paul de Villiers said: “It’s a big privilege for us to host the tournament here in our country, having our friends and family here to watch us. We’re very excited but know that we have to do the job on the field. We’re a team of ordinary guys coming from all around South Africa, but we’re playing together and for each other and will play the best rugby that we can.

“I was 10 years old when we won the last tournament. We admire the guys that won it and we see it as an inspiration. We still have to go on the field and execute our plans and play rugby.”

Since the World Rugby U20 Championship’s inception 15 years ago, only four participating unions have won the U20 Championship in New Zealand (six), England (three), France (two) and South Africa (one).

The 2023 edition of rugby’s premier U20 tournament will kick-off on Saturday with the Pool C meeting between Argentina and Italy at 11:00 local time (GMT+2). The opening day will conclude with hosts South Africa against Georgia at 19:00 local time. The full match schedule can be found here.

Fans around the world will be able to watch the World Rugby U20 Championship via the below broadcasters*, or on World Rugby’s platforms where there is no local broadcaster.

  • UK – ITV
  • Wales – S4C
  • USA – NBC
  • South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa – SuperSport
  • New Zealand – Sky Sports
  • Lat Am – ESPN
  • France – L’Equipe
  • India – Fancode
  • Ireland – Virgin Media
  • Australia – Stan

*Please refer to each broadcasters’ schedule and website for list of fixtures being shown.

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