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New Zealand’s U20 Championship path set

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allblacks.com     15 Feb 2018     Getty Images

The pool matches will be played across three venues with defending champions New Zealand set to play in Perpignan, Béziers and Narbonne. 

The draw, based on rankings from the 2017 edition in Georgia, sees New Zealand joined in Pool A by Australia, Wales – both former runners-up – and World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 winners Japan.

2017 runners-up England will face Argentina, Italy and Scotland in Pool B, while bronze medallists South Africa will meet hosts France, Ireland and Georgia in Pool C.

Narbonne and Perpignan will host the semifinals and ranking playoffs on 12 June, with Béziers hosting all finals day matches on 17 June across two pitches. 

Ten years on from the inaugural U20 Championship in Wales in 2008, the number of players to graduate from the tournament to the test arena now stands at almost 570.

Six players have made that step since the 2017 edition in Georgia to join the likes of Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, double Rugby World Cup winner Sam Whitelock, Australia’s David Pocock, Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo and France’s Yoann Maestri who all played in the inaugural tournament in 2008.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "The scene is set for a superb World Rugby U20 Championship in France. We have three excellent host cities, great venues and a compelling match schedule.

"It will be fascinating to see who will join the likes of Sam Warburton, Nemani Nadolo, Sam Whitelock, David Pocock and Yoann Maestri in graduating from the tournament to become test stars."

New Zealand won their sixth World Rugby Under 20 Championship title in 2017 when they beat England 64-17 in the final. England are the second most successful team in the history of the tournament with three titles while South Africa has one.

Click here for the full World Rugby U20 Championship 2018 schedule.