Japan crowned World Rugby U20 Trophy champions

Japan crowned World Rugby U20 Trophy champions

On a thrilling final day of the World Rugby U20 Trophy in São José dos Campos, Brazil, Japan have beaten Portugal in a last gasp victory to be crowned 2019 champions and secure promotion to next year’s World Rugby U20 Championship.


 
Japan will be competing among the elite of international age-group rugby once again in 2020 after digging deep to beat Portugal by the slenderest of margins in the final minutes of the World Rugby U20 Trophy final on Sunday.
 
 
Leading 34-28 with two minutes left to play, Portugal were on the verge of securing their first title, but Japan conjured up a late try to win 35-34 and book their place at next year’s U20 Championship in Italy instead.
 

It was a fitting end to what has been a brilliant tournament and brought the curtain down on a day of high drama at 
the Estadio Martins Pereira, where two of three matches were settled by three points combined and another was decided in sudden-death extra-time.
 
Following on from a comfortable 52-13 win for Canada over Kenya in the fifth place play-off, Tonga clung on to win the bronze medal against Uruguay 29-27 in a match that would have needed extra-time had Matias D'Avanzo's conversion gone over instead of striking the upright.
 
Hosts Brazil then required a drop goal in the second minute of extra-time to win their first ever U20 Trophy match in the seventh-place play-off against Hong Kong, winning the game 32-29.


World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont, said: “I would like to congratulate Japan on playing an outstanding tournament – their thrilling victory over Portugal in Sunday’s final will live long in the memory and I wish them well as they prepare to return to the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2020. All teams who took part in this year’s World Rugby U20 Trophy should be exceptionally proud of the scintillating rugby they have produced.

“Right from the start, the U20 Trophy has delivered high-quality, exciting action, thrilling crowds in Brazil and audiences around the world. As a development tournament the U20 Trophy offers a fantastic platform for the sport’s future stars to shine on the global stage and I would expect many of the players we have seen perform in Brazil over the past two weeks to go on to achieve senior test status for their countries in the coming years.”

World Rugby Vice Chairman, Agustín Pichot, added: “The World Rugby U20 Trophy – staged in Brazil for the first time - has again shown that the future of rugby in South America is very bright and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Confederação Brasileira de Rugby for hosting such a high quality tournament. As first-time participants and hosts, the U20 Trophy is a fantastic milestone on Brazil’s journey as a rugby playing nation and an incredible showpiece for the sport in what is one of our fastest growing markets with huge potential for the future. 

“It has been an exceptional two months for rugby in South America, with the World Rugby U20 Championship taking place in Argentina and the World Rugby Nations Cup in Uruguay last month, demonstrating World Rugby’s commitment to growing the game and providing greater exposure to elite competitions in South America. Across the region there are now 680,000 men, women and children playing rugby, while the number of people with an interest in watching and enjoying rugby in the region continues to rise at a great pace.”


Brasil Rugby CEO Agustin Danza said: “We are very proud of being the hosts of the U20 WR Trophy. This event is key for inspiring our young players to take up rugby and also to showcase Brazilian Rugby to the world. We hope all the teams had a memorable tournament and we thank World Rugby for their trust in Brasil Rugby."

Via: World Rugby

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