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Tomorrow in Uruguay, on September 6, will end pool play in the Men’s World Rugby U-20 Trophy Championship, consisting of the second-tier rugby U-20 nations. The winner of the event will be promoted to the U-20 Junior World Championship (JWC) for 2018.

Currently, Namibia and Japan at 2-0 will meet for the Pool A title and advancement to the gold medal round. In Pool B, any of three teams – Portugal (2-0), Uruguay (1-1) or Fiji (1-1) - could emerge as the winner, with bonus points potentially determining the victor.

Japan were relegated from the JWC in 2016, while Georgia were promoted.  This year, Samoa finished on the bottom of the recent U-20 JWC 2017 and will play next year in the U-20 Trophy Championship.

The U-20 JWC annual event consists of the top 12 youth fifteens. In its ten-year history, the USA have appeared only twice in 2009 and 2012, the same participation as Canada and Georgia. Japan and Tonga have played four times, and Uruguay once.

The Eagles have made five appearance in the U-20 Trophy Championship, but failed to qualify this year. Entrance stems from regional play offs.

In the U-20 Trophy 2017 tournament, the Canadians are 0-2 with no chance of moving up so the USA must meet them in 2018 for the one, North American spot.

Without competing against other nations in either of the two U-20 rugby events, the USA will continue to lack Test match experience, a detriment to the development of the nation’s youth program.