The Junior Springboks will face England, Fiji and hosts, Italy, in Pool C of the 2020 World Rugby U20 Championship, which will be hosted across four Italian cities – Verona, Viadana, Calvisano and Parma – from Sunday, 28 June, to Saturday, 18 July.
Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux’s charges will have the honour of kicking off the international showpiece against Italy at Verona’s brand new Payanini Center on Sunday, 28 June, and they will remain in the city for their second pool match against Fiji on Friday, 3 July, before wrapping up the league stages against England at Stadio Sergio Zaffanella in Viadana.
The semi-finals – which will feature the three pool winners and the next best-placed team among the 12 participants – will be hosted at the Peroni Stadium in Calvisano on Monday, 13 July, while the Final will play out in Parma on Saturday, 18 July.
While Verona will host matches for the first time, Viadana, Parma and Calvisano hosted World Rugby U20 Championship action in 2015. This year’s event will be the third time the competition is hosted in Italy, as they also hosted the spectacle featuring the best U20 players on the planet in 2011.
Defending champions, France, will line up against Argentina, Ireland and Japan in Pool A, while 2019 runners up, Australia, will meet Wales, New Zealand and Georgia in Pool B.
The Junior Springboks won the bronze medal in the last three World Rugby U20 Championship tournaments – the last of which was hosted in Argentina.
Roux spoke highly of their opposition and said: “We are preparing for another challenging World Rugby U20 Championship, and it will be that way from the outset, as the home crowd will be fully behind their team in the opening game.
“Italy and England are both U20 Six Nations regulars, while the Fijians are a physical bunch that always play with passion and grit.
“Given the small margins in this competition it will be important to win every game to advance to the semi-final, so we know what we are in for and we will prepare accordingly,” Roux added.
Commenting on the tournament and Italy as the hosts, World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Every year the World Rugby U20 Championship showcases the most promising young rugby players and we see year after year graduates from the competition succeeding at the highest level.
“Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan featured 228 players who initially represented their country in this tournament, and I invite all rugby fans to follow matches closely for the next rugby stars of tomorrow.
“Italy have proved incredible hosts in the past and we are confident rugby strongholds like Viadana, Calvisano, Verona and Parma will deliver the best possible stage for the tournament.”