With three days to go until the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 kicks off in South Africa, event organisers are anticipating an outstanding tournament that will further the profile of the world's most prestigious age grade tournament.
More than 400 players and team management are running through their final preparations, the scene is set for a thrilling three weeks of action as all set their sights on lifting the coveted trophy.
Even before the first round of matches have been played, the 2012 Championship has been confirmed as a record-breaker.
For the first time total hours broadcast will exceed 300, while the event which runs from June 4-22 in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, will be screened live or as live to more than 240 million homes in 162 territories by 17 leading broadcasters, a 14 per cent rise in coverage from last year.
Speaking at the Championship launch in Cape Town on Friday, IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said that he was delighted with preparations and anticipates an event that will deliver wide-ranging benefits for teams and the South African Rugby community.
"With three days to go until the Championship kicks off, I have no doubt that South Africa 2012 will be a resounding success, promoting age grade Rugby at its best and its values of respect, fair play and passion to an unprecedented global audience."
"I am sure that the reward for the South African Rugby Union's hard work and dedication in organising this special event will be a Championship that South Africa and the global Rugby family can be proud of."
The blend of triple-headers at the University of Western Cape Stadium (Cape Town) and the Danie Craven Stadium (Stellenbosch) over five match days, attractive ticketing prices and the future stars of the Game in action the scene is set for a festival of world-class Rugby.
"This tournament goes from strength to strength every year. There is palpable excitement within the South African Rugby family and fans attending matches at both venues will experience much more than three matches a day. It will be an entertainment experience for the whole family," added Bourdarias.
For the players, the IRB Junior World Championship not only delivers an opportunity to test themselves against the cream of their generation, but it also provides an invaluable development and educational platform to prepare them for Rugby's biggest events.
To date, 130 players have graduated from the Junior World Championship since its inception in 2008 to represent their country at senior test level, proving the event's worth as a finishing school for the future stars of the Game.
“The Championship is a unique learning environment on many fronts. We provide crucial anti-doping and player welfare education and training as well as awareness of Rugby’s core values. We also want the players to enjoy the experience and express themselves on the field,” continued Bourdarias.
“South Africa 2012 will set the benchmark for future hosts to follow as the world's finest up and coming players start the road to Rugby World Cup 2015 in England."
Andy Marinos, SARU General Manager, Commercial and Marketing, added: “We are proud to be hosting this prestigious event and welcome the world’s best Under 20 players to South Africa over the next three weeks.”
“Everything is ready for kick off. We have two superb match venues, fantastic facilities for all the teams and in partnership with the City of Cape Town, Western Province Union and the Universities we are confident that we will deliver an outstanding IRB Junior World Championship.”
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