The 2020 World Rugby U20 Championship will be held in Italy for the third time in nine years, it has been announced today.
It returns the competition to Europe after Argentina hosted this year, but means it won’t have been hosted by one of the big three Southern Hemisphere sides since New Zealand welcomed the tournament to its shores in 2014.
Italy last hosted in 2015, when Cremona, Viadana, Parma and Calvisano acted as the venues, while before that they hosted in 2011, with Padova, Rovigo and Treviso the three venues.
Wales had a similar record in both tournaments, finishing sixth in 2015 and fourth in 2011, but have a fight on their hands to stay competitive next year as they face a pool of death.
The pools are decided depending on the finishing positions of the previous competition, with Pool A containing 1st, 6th, 7th and the second tier U20 Trophy winner, Pool B being made up of 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th, and Pool C being 3rd, 4th, 9th and 10th.
With Wales finishing sixth this year, it means we face back-to-back champions France U20 in the pool stage once again, as well as New Zealand U20, who beat Ireland to only come 7th, but are tipped by many to have a much stronger group of players coming through for next season.
The final team in the pool is Japan U20, who emerged victorious from July’s second tier World Rugby U20 Trophy and return to the pinnacle of U20 competition.