After the World Rugby U20 Championship pool play, knockout rugby stages and an entertaining and well played Cup final, it is time to say ‘Take a Bow’ and applaud France U20 Champions for 2019.
To the delight of players, management, and fans of French Rugby, the nation raised the trophy at a major World Rugby tournament for the second year running. Too often the bridesmaid, the Under 20 Championship is now a tour de force for the Under 20 men, who were top qualifiers in their pool, tipped-up the big South African team, and overcame a sturdy opponent to claim the grand finale.
WOW! What an incredible final but it's @FFRugby who become the third team to win back-to-back titles at the #WorldRugbyU20s after a nail-biter with the #JuniorWallabies in Rosario pic.twitter.com/KJ5fxB6wSK
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 22, 2019
Take a Bow; France U20 Champions
The French can be extremely pleased with the outcome. A tournament that they have tasted success in, it is a credit to the U20 management, to continue that trend for a second season.
Difficult for most sides, back-to-back titles is not solely reliant on having players under 20 return from previous competitions. It is a reward for investment in youth development and in other competitions like the Under 20 Six Nations Championship.
Second in this years junior Six Nations [to Ireland], it was ideal preparations – which now sees France U20 Champions again.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 22, 2019
Australia can also proudly hold their heads high. Not quite reaching their goal, yet the progressions through to the Cup final will only bode well for the future of Australian Rugby.
Still without a World Rugby U20 crown, it is a great development for the side who won the Oceania Championship, denying the New Zealand side who have appeared to encountered issues, in their junior side’s fortunes.
Change in fortune for past U20 Championship winners
Applauding the tournament winner and finalists, this year saw different names appear in the final four – with a change in fortune for past Championship winners.
Most notably, New Zealand had one of their worst tournaments in recent memory.
They ended the U20 Championships in seventh place. Nowhere near to where most rugby fans would expect them to finish. Disappointing for coach Craig Philpott, his young side seem to have lost their confidence,after not reaching the top four. Dumped by Wales in the quarterfinals, it was a gut-punch that the Baby Blacks found hard to recover from.
The Baby Boks will also feel that they ‘should have done better’ and will be joined by Ireland. The Irish have been growing in the rugby sevens game, yet after failing in the men’s Six Nations, ending the championship in eighth nothing other than a failure.
Not every side can enjoy success, like France. Some, like Scotland will be scrambling, after a horrendous end to the U20 tournament hosted by Argentina. They were humbled by Pacifica Rugby flyers Fiji. It was dismay for Scotland after Fiji found the perfect time to score their most points ever in a U20 Championship match.
Try of the tournament candidate from Fiji U20. pic.twitter.com/ljje2igXgj
— Tier 2 Rugby (@T2Rugby) June 22, 2019
Scoring some scintillating tries in a 59-34 victory that guaranteed their place in the 2020 tournament and condemned the Scots to relegation to the World Rugby U20 Trophy for the first time.
Teams evaluate results after 2019 U20 Championship
After this weekend, every competing nation will evaluate the results, as much as the player’s performances. Many will be pleased, while some like Scotland or New Zealand, may need to dig a little deeper.
Known as a leaping point for many to kickstart their International careers, names like Jordan Joseph and Julien Delbouis of France, Josh Nasser of Australia, and Osea Natoga of Fiji. Each will hold fond memories of their time in the U20 Championship – none more so, than France.
Now, and for the rest of the player’s careers, they can proudly say “we are France U20 Champions”. That will be a memory some are wholly satisfied with, as others aim to add the senior XV’s title in time.
See full results here, courtesy of World Rugby.
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