Oceania Rugby, Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:01AM

New Zealand v Fiji at the 2017 Oceania Rugby U20 Championship (Photo: Sportography)

Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand will be joining tournament hosts Australia on the Gold Coast in May this year to contest the coveted 2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Championship.

The Championship, now in its fourth year, will continue to provide key game times and preparation for both Australia and New Zealand ahead of the World Rugby U20s Championship with the 2018 event in France this June. Fiji will also stand to gain invaluable game experience during the Championship ahead of their World Rugby U20s Trophy campaign in Romania later this year. 
Australia will be out to impress the local crowd and claim victory on home soil despite New Zealand having held the title since the Championships inception. New Zealand went onto convincingly win the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, after winning the 2017 Oceania Rugby U20 Championships.
“Regional age grade tournaments are a key competent to Member Union’s player pathway programs.” World Rugby’s, Rugby Services Manager Oceania, Bruce Cook said.
Cook Further added, “The Oceania Rugby U20s Championship is not only a preparation tournament ahead of the World Rugby U20s Championship it also allows for National Coaching staff to view up and coming representative players and development coaches.”


Australia v Samoa during the 2017 Oceania Rugby U20 Championship (Photo: Sportography)

Adrian Thompson, Head of National XVs programs, Rugby Australia said,
“The Oceania Rugby U20s Championship has become an important part of the calendar as we prepare the Junior Wallabies for the rigors of the World Rugby U20s Championship.  
“Taking on Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand will expose the Junior Wallabies to three very different styles of Rugby and will provide some great challenges for our players.
“Oceania Rugby’s commitment to developing Rugby in the region is shown by their investment in this competition and by continuing this commitment to playing it on Australian soil. The Junior Wallabies relish playing at home and we look forward to the big U20s season ahead.”
Tonga will make their first appearance at the tournament, and will be wary opponents for their Oceania neighbours, this follows Fiji’s maiden appearance in last year’s Championship, where they rattled the Australians in round two in 2017.
Tonga Rugby Union Vice Chairman Fe’ao Vuniploa said,
“Tonga are excited to be in Championship this year and look forward to taking part in such a high-level competition involving Australia, New Zealand and rivals Fiji.”

Last updated: Wednesday March 21, 2018 4:59PM