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World Rugby announced the dates for 2018's U20 Championship tournament, which France will host. The annual event will take place from May 30th to June 17 with twelve nations competing. Three venues are indicated: Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan (15,000), Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers (18,555), and Stade d’Honneur du Parc des Sports et de l'Amitié (12,000) in Narbonne.
This will mark the eleventh time for this rugby youth championship. Nine countries have competed in all past ten tournaments: England, Argentina, Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Wales, France, and Ireland. Italy and Samoa have participated on eight occasions, and Fiji seven. The USA entered sides twice, and have not qualified for this competition since 2013. (Canada have not played since 2009.)
The U20 winners parallel the success of the leading Rugby World Cup nations. New Zealand won six tournaments, England three times, and South Africa once. Further, England were runners up five times, South Africa finished third on six occasions, and France fourth in three events.
The Baby All Blacks were 2017's champion, defeating England 64-17 in Georgia. The Springboks beat Les Bleus 37-15 for the bronze medal.
The tournament of twelve fifteens relegates the last place team to the second tier tournament, the U20 Trophy. Samoa dropped down last year. This U20 Trophy event features eight sides, with the winner promoted to next year's U20 Championship. Japan earned the right to move up in 2017 with a title win against Portugal 14-3.
The eight U20 Trophy sides include Portugal, Uruguay, Namibia, Chile, Fiji, Canada, Samoa, and Hong Kong. To enter into this event, the USA must win a regional berth, which it failed to accomplish in 2017.
Historically, more than 500 U20 past participants have moved up to their national sides since the beginning of the U20 Championship.