The annual 2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy will be staged at the Marist Stadium in Apia, Samoa next week. This takes place just after the successful completion of the 2018 Oceania Rugby Women’s 15s Championships jointly hosted with Fiji Rugby at Lautoka’s Churchill Park in Fiji.
The Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy competition which will include Tonga Rugby U20s and the Samoa Rugby U20s will be held at the Marist Park in Apia at 3.00pm on Tuesday 4 and Saturday 8 December, 2018.
With the Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy to be held outside Fiji for the first time since 2015, General Manager for Oceania Rugby and also Oceania Rugby Services Manager for World Rugby Bruce Cook said that the U20s program is a key international pathway for Oceania Rugby and he hopes the Samoan audience will enjoy the energy and excitement it will generate next week.
Oceania Rugby’s Competitions Manager, Wayne Schuster says the U20s program is key in terms of bridging the gap between school boy rugby and senior international XVs in the region.
“We have an array of Senior International XVs players who have graduated from the Oceania Rugby U20s Championship and Trophy programs,” Schuster said.
“Players such as Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Dalton Papalii and Asafo Aumua from the All Blacks, Lukhan Tui, Jack Maddocks, Issac Roda and Jordan Ualesi from the Wallabies, Melani Matavao and Donald Brighouse from Samoa, Semi Radradra, Metuisela Talebula, Manasa Saulo, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani, Eroni Mawi, and Henry Seniloli from the recent flying Fijians team which vanquished the French, have all featured at either Oceania Rugby U20s Championships and Trophies over the years which reinforces the value of the current regional U20s program in producing senior International players from the region” Schuster added.
With a lot riding on this tournament for next year’s qualification for the World Rugby U20s Trophy in Brazil, Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vincent Fepuleai said that the tournament falls in line with the local union’s strategy in having quality rugby content played locally.
“Our vision is to entice further competitions to Samoa and build our international calendar here in the region. There is no question that any competitive fixture against Tonga is significant. With both countries steeped in such strong rugby tradition,” Fepuleai said.
He said the Tournament itself is shaping to be a festival of Rugby. With our local ‘Get into Rugby’ (GIR) schools showcasing their talents in the curtain raisers on both game days.
“It will be a great opportunity for the entire Samoa Rugby community to enjoy what will be a festival of Rugby,” Fepuleai added.
Tonga Rugby’s Chief Executive Officer Fe’ao Vunipola said that it’s going to be a monumental task playing Samoa in their own backyard.
“We were hoping that the Teufaiva upgrading poject would be completed in time so that we could host Samoa in Tonga but it was not to be,” Vunipola reflected.
“Given the fact that they are the runner up to Fiji in the most recent RWC Trophy, they are obviously the favorite,” he added.
He said that they were thankful to the Tongan Government for their continued assistance, Matson for their kind sponsorship and to Oceania Rugby for facilitating this tournament and many others in the region.
The team who qualifies for next year’s World Rugby U20s Trophy has the opportunity to further advance to the World Rugby U20s Championship in 2020, should they win in Brazil.
Tuesday 04 December
Marist Stadium – Apia, Samoa
Saturday 08 December
Marist Stadium – Apia, Samoa