Young players get boost with international tournament


South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia’s rising rugby stars can from 2024 hone their skills at the o. 20-Rugby Championship exhibition.

Sanzaar confirmed that the tournament will be presented annually in one of the member states and that the teams will face each other in a playing window of three weeks.

The top team in the standings after the showdowns will be named the ultimate champion.

Needless to say, Hamish McLennan, chairman of Sanzaar, is in his element with the latest development. After all, it has been clear for some time that an international o. 20 Championship among Southern Hemisphere teams could be the missing link between junior and top rugby.

“The exposure to additional international matches will give the players a definite boost; especially in terms of experience and adaptability,” McLennan said.

Rassie Erasmus also welcomed the news.

“We have been trying for some time to organize more matches for the Junior Springboks. A lack of quality game time is something we have identified as a gap in our o. 20 programme,” said SA Rugby’s (Saru) director of rugby.

After the performances of European teams in the recent o. 20 spectacle in the Cape refers to emphasize his statement.

“It was clear that the Six Nations teams that attended the o. 20-World Championship in action was better prepared for the challenges of international rugby. There is nothing that prepares a player for top level rugby better than regular exposure to match situations.

We are very excited about the new competition and Sanzaar undoubtedly deserves a pat on the back.”

For the umpteenth time this year, the Junior Springboks were the bronze medal winners in the o. 20-World Championship and the team undoubtedly saved their best performance for last.

The young Bucks beat England 22-15 in the play-off for third place in the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town and their performance was much better than that against Ireland and Italy; matches that the South Africans lost.

“This is certainly exciting news and we are looking forward to three tough games against talented opponents. At the same time, it is not only a good opportunity for the players to confirm their places in the group, but it also offers us an opportunity to build momentum in the run-up to the World Championship,” said coach Bafana Nhleko.