Junior World Rugby Trophy Tournament kicks off in Chile

Chile’s Under-20 rugby team scrums down against top international sides in Temuco as international tournament gets underway.

Hoping to secure a place in the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Junior World Championship in New Zealand next year, the world’s best young players have made their way to the southern Chilean city of Temuco for the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament (JWRT) now through June 9.

Chile’s youth team, who took fifth place at last year’s JWRT in Salt Lake City, Utah, are ready to show their skill and drive. This year they enjoy homefield advantage as they face off against Canada, Japan, Italy, Namibia, Portugal, Tonga and Uruguay.

Fly half and vice captain Francisco Urroz for Chile said he was excited to be playing on his native soil.

“It adds to the pressure on us, but it is good to be able to play in your country, with passionate fans. We have a team with many new players but should be ready when the time comes,” Urroz told the IRB ahead of the tournament.

Originally set to take place in the northern region of Antofagasta, the venue for the tournament was changed in the eleventh hour due to factors outside of IRB’s control. Temuco was more than willing to step up and host the international event, having just successfully held the Rugby World Cup match between Chile and Brazil.

“We are delighted to host this event in our city and despite the little time we’ve had to prepare, we are ready to welcome this great tournament,” said Temuco’s mayor Miguel Becker. “This is an opportunity to showcase our city and region in front of visitors of this calibre. Sport is very good for education and rugby has special values and qualities that are very positive for our young people.”

Becker has a personal connection to the sport, having played as a back while studying at Chile’s military academy.

The main venue for the JWRT is Temuco’s Estadio Germán Becker. Built in 1965, the stadium was re-inaugurated in 2008 after a major refurbishment and was recently filled with excited fans during April’s Chile vs. Brazil match that saw the home team win 38-22. Estadio Germán Becker will host a total of six games, including Chile’s under 20 first matchup on the opening day of the tournament against Portugal. It will also be the scene for the tournament’s championship final.

Click here to see the schedule for all the rugby action in Temuco.