World Rugby U20
Next year's U20 Championship will be held in Manchester in the north of England
World Rugby has today announced that the U20 Championship 2016 will be held in Manchester, England.
Hosted by the RFU, the tournament will take place at the AJ Bell Stadium, home of Sale Sharks, and Manchester City Academy Stadium in June 2016.
The U20 Championship, which is currently taking place in Italy, will see England defend their title against four-time winners New Zealand in Cremona this Saturday.
The competition has seen more than 340 players graduate to the international test arena since the inaugural tournament in 2008, including some of the current crop of international stars that are set to shine on the world stage at Rugby World Cup 2015.
New Zealand won the tournament (formerly the Junior World Championships) from 2008-11 with South Africa winning the competition on home soil in 2012. England lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2014 and will be hoping to go to Manchester as champions in 2016 if they can win in Cremona on Saturday.
Commenting on the announcement, World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The U20 Championship in England next year will be another excellent opportunity for the future stars of world rugby to showcase their skills on the world stage, following what's shaping up to be a record-breaking Rugby World Cup.
"Manchester will provide an excellent base for the world's top under-20 teams, and it's a great opportunity to bring a world-class rugby event to the city and grow the game even further in the region.
"With so many graduates of the U20 Championship now excelling in the international test arena, this tournament, coupled with the Rugby World Cup, will leave a great legacy for others to build on in the years to come.
The appointment comes as a further boost to English rugby, with Rugby World Cup 2015 taking place across the country in September, including at Manchester City Stadium, and AJ Bell stadium having played host to the European Sevens Grand Prix series last September.
With the addition of Manchester City’s Academy Stadium – taking the total capacity with AJ Bell to just under 20, 000 - the Championship offers plenty of opportunity for supporters to experience more top class international rugby in the north of England.
With Rugby World Cup 2015 fast approaching, RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said: “We are honoured to be hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship in England next year. We have a tremendous opportunity to grow the game in this country after October’s tournament, and create a legacy for generations to come.
“The appointment of the Championship to the RFU is another significant step forward in helping us achieve that goal, ensuring that rugby is accessible in all areas of the country.”