Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Rugby Junior World Championship in Japan!


While planning my trip to Australia, I noticed on a major rugby website that the International Rugby Board (IRB) would be holding the 2009 Junior World Championship in Japan. The tourney consists of 5 match days between June 5th and 21st, and takes place in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. All of the major rugby-playing countries will have their junior teams there and it should be a very entertaining tournament.

One of the problems with international rugby is only a few countries play it well, and so the Rugby World Cup has far too many one-sided matches. Unlike soccer, it is nearly impossible for a less-talented side to win in rugby, and it is tough for the lesser teams to make significant improvements.

The JWC is a chance to see whether some of the second-tier nations such as Canada and Japan will be able to compete with the more established rugby powers. I think the talent level at the younger age might be a bit closer, and with only 16 teams participating in the tournament, there should be less weak teams and more close games. I'll be going to at least one match day in Tokyo and will update you here.

Best,

Sean

Update: New Zealand won the tournament and neither Canada nor Japan won a single game. So much for my expectations on that front.

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