International Rugby
USA to host IRB Junior World Trophy
ESPNscrum Staff
January 29, 2012
Samoa celebrate winning the IRB Junior World Trophy, Japan v Samoa, IRB Junior World Trophy, Tiblisi, Georgia, June 5, 2011
Samoa celebrate beating Japan to claim the 2011 IRB Junior World Trophy title © Getty Images

The United States has moved a step closer hosting the Rugby World Cup with the news that this year's IRB Junior World Trophy competition will be staged in Salt Lake City.

Hosts USA, Canada, Chile, Georgia, Japan, Russia, Tonga and Zimbabwe will go head-to-head between June 18-30 with all eight sides hoping to emulate Samoa whose reward for claiming the 2011 title was a place among the elite at IRB Junior World Championship in France later this year.

The announcement, which was made at the 2012 USA Rugby Youth Development Conference in Atlanta on Saturday, reflects the ongoing commitment of both the IRB and USA Rugby to grow the sport within one of the world's major markets.

"The IRB is committed to the development of the Game around the world and the USA is a very important and exciting market for Rugby," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. "We now have a 10 year tours and test schedule that will see major international teams touring north America starting this year, while Sevens is really taking off. Schools are increasingly looking to Rugby as a force for social and sporting integration and USA Rugby is reaching out to more men, women and children than ever before.

"The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy has consistently proven that it is a major tournament on the global Rugby calendar. Its blend of entertaining, high-quality matches always captures the imagination and I am sure that USA 2012 will be no different. The legacy for Rugby in the Host Union and participating teams is proven and long lasting.

"As well as providing teams with a platform to test themselves on the international stage at this key age grade level, the tournament also provides an opportunity to take Rugby to new and expanding territories, and enables Unions to adopt best-practice techniques across areas as diverse as High Performance strategies, event hosting and Referee development."

USA Rugby will seek to build on the outstanding tournament hosted in Tbilisi last year, which saw record fans and increased broadcast coverage coupled with some of the world's best young players. Russia's Denis Simplikevich became one of the latest of the 82 JWRT graduates to grace the world stage when he made his Test debut at Rugby World Cup 2011. Tai Enosa, Scott LaValla and Shawn Pittman who now play regularly for the Eagles at fifteens and Sevens, also cut their teeth on the world stage at IRB age grade tournaments.

"We are very proud to be hosting the JWRT," said USA Rugby CEO and president of rugby operations, Nigel Melville. "I know the American rugby community will embrace this great tournament and I'm confident that we at USA Rugby will deliver an impressive event."

Melville added, "Hosting a JWRT is the first step to positioning the USA to host larger tournaments with the end goal of one day hosting a Rugby World Cup."

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