World Rugby U20 Trophy 2023: Pool A Preview

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Scotland make their World Rugby U20 Trophy bow in an intriguing pool featuring the competition’s most-experienced side Uruguay, African U20 champions Zimbabwe, and a dangerous USA side who were the last team to secure their place in the tournament.

USA find themselves in a difficult pool as they return to challenge for the World Rugby U20 Trophy for the first time since 2016.

Uruguay, the inaugural winners in 2008, have played in 10 of the 12 tournaments to date and know their way around the competition.

Scotland will want an immediate return to the U20 Championship, after being relegated in 2019 from the top tier.

And Zimbabwe head to Nairobi full of confidence, having won the Rugby Africa Barthés U20 Trophy there in April.

SCOTLAND

Tournaments played: 0 (12 U20 Championship – 2008-19)
Best finish: Fifth (2017 U20 Championship)
Worst finish: 12th (2019 – relegated to U20 Trophy)
U20 Championship match record: Played 60/ Won 21 / Lost 39
U20 Championship points/tries scored: 1,241 / 164

U20 graduates: 78 (U20 Championship)
Most capped U20 graduate: Stuart Hogg (100 tests)

Did you know …? This is Scotland’s debut appearance in the U20 Trophy after they were relegated from the U20 Championship in 2019. 

Coach: Kenny Murray
Captain: Liam McConnell

How they qualified: Finishing last in the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 in Argentina meant that Scotland were relegated to the U20 Trophy. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed their first appearance in this competition. 

Squad: Ben Afshar, Jerry Blyth-Lafferty, Finlay Burgess, Craig Davidson, Robbie Deans, Sam Derrick, Finn Douglas, Finn Duraj, Eddie Erskine, Geordie Gwynn, Ruairaidh Hart, Logan Jarvie, Monroe Job, Dan King, Liam McConnell (captain), Andrew McLean, Ollie Minnis, Jonny Morris, Callum Norrie, Jake Parkinson, Hector Patterson, Matt Reid, Ben Salmon, Jonny Smith, Max Surry, Corey Tait, Findlay Thomson, Kerr Yule.

URUGUAY

Tournaments played: 10 (2008, 2010-11, 2013-18)
Best finish: Winners (2008)
Worst finish: Seventh (2013)
U20 Trophy match record: Played 40 / Won 22 / Drawn 1 / Lost 17
U20 Trophy points/tries scored: 1,278 / 166

U20 graduates: 84 (78 Trophy, six Championship)
Most capped U20 graduate: Diego Magno (91 tests)

Did you know …? 2008 champions Uruguay have taken part in more U20 Trophy competitions than any other nation.

Coach: Guillermo Storace
Captain: Juan Ignacio Cambón

How they qualified: A runners-up finish behind Sudamérica Rugby champions Argentina was enough for Los Teritos to claim a place in the World Rugby U20 Trophy for an 11th time in a total of 13 tournaments.

Squad: Ícaro Amarillo, Franco Bertini, Manuel Bertolotti, Joaquín Borrazas, Pedro Brum, Santiago Cagnone, Juan Ignacio Cambón (captain), Juan Carlos Canessa, Martín Civetta, Nicolás Conti, Tomás Coubrough, Juan Bautista Crisci, Francisco Defemmis, Francisco García, Juan González , Pedro Hoblog, Máximo Lamelas, Juan Lorenzo, Máximo Lorenzo y Losada, Jerónimo Noseda, Felipe Pick, Manuel Rosmarino, Duban Silvera, Dante Soto, Guillermo Storace, Joaquín Suárez, Arturo Ten Hoever.

USA

Tournaments played: 5 (2009, 2011-12, 2014, 2016)
Best finish: Winners (2012)
Worst finish: Seventh (2011)
U20 Trophy match record: Played 20 / Won 12 / Lost 8 
U20 Trophy points/tries scored: 591 / 73

U20 graduates: 24 (U20 Trophy)
Most capped U20 graduate: Cam Dolan (63 tests)

Did you know …? USA were the first-ever host nation to win the Junior World Rugby Trophy, as it was then known, when they claimed the title after a thrilling victory over Japan in Utah in 2012.

Coach: Kyle Sumsion

How they qualified: USA comfortably beat Canada in a two-leg North American qualifying round in South Carolina in June, winning the opening match 43-21 and the second 39-14.

Squad: Logan Ballinger, Dom Besag, Leon Best, Jaydon Brooks, Jackson Cain, Aidan Christians, Ollie Cline, Cade Crist, Connor Devos, Declan Dolan, Henry Duke, Dylan Fortune, Tommy Hannon, Cam McAlpine, Hayden McKay, Hugh O’Kennedy, Sosaia Pongi, Gabe Riordan, Cormac Saint, Rand Santos, Will Sherman, Corbin Smith, JT Tiaoivao, Sake Tukuafu, Jordan Vassel, JP Vinter, Solomon Williams, John Wilson.

ZIMBABWE

Tournaments played: 4 (2010-12, 2016)
Best finish: Seventh (2010, 2012)
Worst finish: Eighth (2011, 2016)
U20 Trophy match record: Played 16 / Won 2 / Drawn 1 / Lost 13 
U20 Trophy points/tries scored: 404 / 52

U20 graduates: 28 (26 Trophy, 2 Championship)
Most capped U20 graduate: Biselele Tshamala (29 tests)

Did you know …? The Junior Sables won the Rugby Africa Barthés U20 Trophy in April, beating World Rugby U20 Trophy hosts Kenya 28-7 in the final at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. 

Coach: Shaun de Souza
Captain: Panashe Zuze

How they qualified: The Junior Sables won the Barthés U20 Trophy in April, beating Kenya 28-7 in the final. Because Kenya automatically qualified for the World Rugby U20 Trophy as hosts, Zimbabwe’s 60-6 over Tunisia in the semi-final meant they were already assured of their place.

Squad: Tawananyasha Bwanya, Bryan Chiang, Tadiwa Chinwada, Tanaka Chinyanga, Tanaka Gondomukandapi, Mazuva Gutu, Martin Hakunavanhu, Brendan Jameson, Gealan Jaricha, Simbarashe Kanyangarara, Dion Khumalo, Shadreck Mandaza, Nqobile Manyara, Shingi Manyarara, Munotida Marimirofa, Brendan Marume, Huntley Masterson, Tawanda Matipano, Allan Mawunga, Hagler Muchenje, Leo Mutendi, Tanaka Ndoro, Benoni Nhekairo, Alex Nyamunda, Edward Sigauke, Gerry Zisengwe, Panashe Zuze, Takudzwa Zvomunya.

POOL A FIXTURES (kick-off times local, GMT+3)

All matches at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi

Saturday, 15 July

10:00 – Scotland v Zimbabwe
14:00 – Uruguay v USA

Thursday, 20 July

12:00 – Uruguay v Zimbabwe
14:00 – Scotland v USA

Tuesday, 25 July

10:00 – USA v Zimbabwe
16:00 – Scotland v Uruguay

Credit: World Rugby

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