SA to host 2012 Junior World Champs

Saru announced their hosting rights to the 2012 World Junior Championship in Cape Town on Thursday.

While head coach Dawie Theron is still in the process of preparing the SA U20s for this year’s Junior World Champs in Italy in June, Saru held a press conference at the Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town.

At the gathering, where the likes of Saru deputy president Mark Alexander, WPRFU president Tobie Titus and Theron were present, it was announced that Saru’s bid to host the next U20 tournment next year was successful. Twelve teams will travel down to Cape Town as games will be played at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch and the University of the Western Cape Sports Ground in Bellville.

IRB tournament director Philippe Bourdarias says South Africa will be the ‘perfect hosts’ for the next year’s tournament.

‘The IRB accepted South Africa’s bid ahead of nations like France, Argentina and Japan,’ Bourdarias told keo.co.za. ‘South Africa, and Cape Town specifically, ticked all the right boxes as they have a good record of hosting international events. Here, the city has world-class stadiums, perfect accommodation and great facilities and infrastructure to ensure the 2012 Junior World Championship will be highly successful.

‘The tournament will only be played at the two venues [in Stellenbosch and Bellville] to allow more televised games. Having only twelve teams competing reduces competition costs and allows us to have a top-class tournament, with no one-sided games. The lower-ranked teams will play in a second-tier tournament in May annually. This year it will be played in Georgia.

‘The bottom team at this year’s Junior World Champs will be relegated and replaced by the winner of the second-tier U20 tournament. This relegation/promotion format will happen annually to ensure we have the strongest 12 teams each year.’

Theron believes hosting a Junior World Championship will put the Baby Boks in a strong position to win their first title.

‘I first heard Saru’s proposal last November and I’m excited to hear it is now official,’ Theron also told this site. ‘For a country like South Africa and for a province like WP, where rugby is a big sport, it’s great news that we will be hosts next year. There’s so much rugby history here.

‘For me, it’s a privilege to coach a national team in a home international tournament. Home advantage will be a great boost for the players, who don’t have much international experience at this stage. By being surrounded by family and familiar environment, things will be easier for the team as they know the conditions and weather.’

By Gareth Duncan