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Engalnd U-20 Celebrate in 2016

World Rugby announced the schedule for the 2017 U-20 Boys event to be held in the country of Georgia for the first time. The event kicks off May 31, 2017 with six games on that day.

The U-20 tournament is the annual championship for younger, up-and-coming players, which premiered in Wales in 2008. Then, it was a sixteen-nation invitational that since has been decreased to twelve squads. Each year, the twelfth place team is relegated, and the winner of the U-20 Trophy (second tier nations) is promoted from its own tournament.

Past winners number New Zealand 5, England 3, and South Africa 1. England won 2016's contest, defeating Ireland 45-21. The Red Roses are the number one seed, and open against Samoa, seeded twelfth.

The twelve nations that compete frequently mirror the stronger national sides that play in the European Six Nations (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy) and the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa).

The other two spots have been filled mainly by three Pacific Nations fifteens, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. See the following data on which lesser nations participated and how often:

Samoa  7* (High at 8th place)

Fiji       7 (High at 6th place)

Tonga  4

Japan   4 (Relegated to the U-20 Trophy)

Canada 2

USA    2

Georgia 1*

Uruguay 1

* Competing in 2017

The USA managed to play in only two U-20 top tier Championship events, 2008 and 2013, finishing last on both occasions and being dropped to the U-20 Trophy event. Last year, the junior Eagles ended sixth, losing fifth place to Uruguay. The four nations that finished ahead of the USA for the U-20 Trophy were Samoa (promoted), Spain, Fiji, and Namibia.