Manchester will host the 2016 Under-20 World Rugby Championship where future stars of the sport will compete against each other for the title, it was announced today.
Hosted by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the tournament will take place at Sale Sharks’ home AJ Bell Stadium and Manchester City’s Academy Stadium in June 2016.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset expressed his excitement on Manchester’s role in next year’s championship.
He said: “The U20 Championship in England next year will be another excellent opportunity for the future stars of world rugby to showcase their skills on the world stage, following what’s shaping up to be a record-breaking Rugby World Cup.
“Manchester will provide an excellent base for the world’s top U20 teams, and it’s a great opportunity to bring a top class rugby event to the city and grow the game even further in the region.
“With so many graduates of the U20 Championship now excelling in the international test arena, this tournament, coupled with this year’s Rugby World Cup, will leave a great legacy for others to build on in the years to come,” added the 67-year-old chairman.
The appointment comes as a further boost to English rugby, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup taking place across the country in September.
The annual event, which is currently taking place in Italy, is contested by 12 national teams at under-20 level, showcasing future stars of rugby union.
Neil Fairlamb, Manchester City Council Head of Sport expressed the importance of this event for rugby stars of tomorrow.
He said: “The announcement that the World Rugby U20 Championship will take place in Manchester is fantastic news and once again demonstrates the city’s commitment to the sport.
“It will also allow us to build on the interest created by hosting a 2015 Rugby World Cup match later this year.
“The championship has a history of nurturing young talent and this will be a great opportunity to witness the rugby stars of tomorrow as they begin their careers.
“Manchester boasts world class sports facilities and the choice to hold the championship here shows we are truly an international sporting destination with a place on the global stage.”
With the addition of Manchester City’s 7,000 seat Academy Stadium – taking the total capacity with AJ Bell to just under 20,000 – the Championship offers plenty of opportunity for supporters to experience more top class international rugby in the North of England.
Councillor Ann-Marie Humphreys, Assistant Mayor for Culture and Sport at Salford City Council, added: “This tournament will give the chance to showcase the world-class sporting facilities we have on offer in Salford.
“It promises to be a great championship and the people of Salford will extend a very warm welcome to the players and all those who attend.”
The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. For more information and how to buy tickets, visit www.worldrugby.org.
Main image courtesy of World Rugby via YouTube, with thanks.