<font color="#FF0000"><strong>The International Rugby Board ( IRB ) has announced that Wales will host the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship in June 2008. </strong></font><br />
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<em>The Tournament, which will bring together the world’s best Under 20 teams, will take place between 6 - 22 June and will incorporate an exciting regional format.</em><br />
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Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, Cardiff’s Arms Park, Newport’s Rodney Parade and Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground will be the host venues for each of the four pools giving widespread coverage within the Principality.<br />
<div align="center"><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/1liberty_stadium.jpg" align="" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="300" height="225" alt="" /> <br />
<font color="#009900">Swansea's Liberty Stadium</font></div><br />
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<a href="http://www.irb.com/mm/document/home/0/071119drjwcschedule_3990.pdf" target="_blank"><u><font color="#0000CC"><strong>Click here to view the full IRB Junior World Championship schedule</strong></font></u></a><br />
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<blockquote><p><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/start_quote_rb.gif" style="float:left;vertical-align:top" /><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/end_quote_rb.gif" style="float:right;vertical-align:bottom" /> “The IRB is delighted that Wales will host the first IRB Junior World Championship for Under 20 teams next year. There are few countries to rival the rugby heritage of Wales and the prospect of a new international tournament coming to Wales next year will, I am sure, generate a great deal of excitement and interest within the Principality and the wider rugby community,” said IRB Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.<br />
“We are also delighted so see that the WRU are committed to delivering what promises to be a memorable Tournament. In particular, the inception of a regional format will ensure that all Rugby fans in Wales will have the opportunity to see the future stars of the Game in action,” </p></blockquote> added Dr Millar.<br />
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The Tournament structure comprises four pools with the winner of each progressing to have a chance of winning the overall championship title, while the other teams will play for a positional ranking.<br />
<div align="center"></div><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/1armspark.jpg" align="" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="390" height="220" alt="" /> <br />
<font color="#009900">Cardiff Arms Park (not the big one, the little one behind it)</font><br />
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New Zealand, champions of the final IRB Under 19 World Championship in Belfast in April this year, are top seeds in Pool A and will face Argentina, Ireland and Tonga in Cardiff. South Africa, runners-up in Belfast, top Pool B in Wrexham and play USA, Samoa and Scotland.<br />
<div align="center"><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/1rodney_01.jpg" align="" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="256" height="192" alt="" /></div> <font color="#009900">The new Rodney Parade, Newport. May be completed on time…..</font><br />
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Australia top the seedings in Pool C and take on England, Canada and Fiji in Newport. Wales, who reached the semi-finals in Belfast, top Pool D and will be based in Swansea, playing their matches at the Liberty Stadium. They will play France, Italy and Japan. The final will be played at the Liberty Stadium on June 22.<br />
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WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said, <blockquote><p><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/start_quote_rb.gif" style="float:left;vertical-align:top" /><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/end_quote_rb.gif" style="float:right;vertical-align:bottom" /> “The IRB Junior World Championship will bring the world’s elite, young talent to Wales. Our aim is to create a top-class Tournament that will not only be extremely memorable for all those future professional rugby players competing in the Tournament, and their families and supporters, but one which will leave a lasting legacy for Welsh Rugby and for the world of Rugby.” </p></blockquote><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/1racecourse.JPG" align="right" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="200" height="161" alt="" /><br />
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WRU Chairman and IRB Council member for Wales David Pickering said, <blockquote><p><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/start_quote_rb.gif" style="float:left;vertical-align:top" /><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/end_quote_rb.gif" style="float:right;vertical-align:bottom" /> “It was a key element of our strategy that all of Wales should benefit from this Tournament and the development plan in place will make sure of that. We are convinced that North Wales will not only play an integral part of the Tournament, but will add something extra to the experience.” </p></blockquote><br />
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The Tournament will benefit from an award of up to £400,000 from UK Sport’s National Lottery backed World Class Events Programme, and is already one of six world championship events secured for the UK in 2008 using UK Sport’s investment and expertise.<br />
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The IRB Junior World Championship is a key element of the IRB’s restructured Age Grade strategy and dovetails with the IRB Junior World Trophy, held next April in Chile, to provide a dedicated Age Grade international pathway for the IRB’s Member Unions.<br />
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<blockquote><p><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/start_quote_rb.gif" style="float:left;vertical-align:top" /><img src="http://www.bigblogmedia.com/images/end_quote_rb.gif" style="float:right;vertical-align:bottom" /> “A promotion and relegation system will operate between the annual Junior World Trophy and Junior World Championship events, with the top team in the Trophy swapping places with the bottom team in the Championship. This is an exciting development as it means that there is a clear pathway for Unions to climb the ladder to the top echelons of Age Grade Rugby starting with the Regional qualification system,” </p></blockquote> said Dr Millar.<br />
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Further announcements will follow with regards to ticketing, sponsorship, legacy and development programmes. <br />
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Source: <a href="http://www.irb.com/newsmedia/mediazone/pressrelease/newsid=2021230.html" target="_blank"><u><font color="#0000CC"><strong>IRB Press Release</strong></font></u></a>

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