Oceania Rugby U20 Championship finds a new home

Media release by Oceania Rugby

Oceania Rugby is pleased to confirm that the Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship will return for the first time since Covid-19 impacted regional competitions on 1 – 10 July 2022 to a new home at the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

The 2022 event will bring international age grade rugby to fans in southeast Queensland with reigning champions and host Australia to welcome Fiji, New Zealand and for the first time Argentina to the iconic Sunshine Coast. It will be the first time in two years any of the regional Under 20 teams have met and New Zealand, 5-time champions, will be looking to reclaim the title they lost to Australia in 2019 while Fiji and Argentina will be hoping to cause an upset and claim the title for the first time.

The Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship is a key high-performance competition providing high level competition and preparation for regional teams ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship, which is due to return in 2023 following a 3-year absence.

Graduates from respective participating teams in recent years have gone on to represent the Wallabies, Flying Fijians and All Blacks including Will Jordan (Crusaders/All blacks), Frank Lomani (Fijian Drua/Flying Fijians) and Sunshine Coast native Tate McDermott (Reds/Wallabies).

Another product of the Sunshine Coast Louis Werchon, Junior Wallabies squad member hopes to follow in their footsteps.

Sunshine Coast Council Economy Portfolio Councillor Terry Landsberg said he was thrilled to welcome event organiser Oceania Rugby into council’s major event portfolio with the Oceania U20 Rugby Championships.

Sponsoring and hosting events like this on the Sunshine Coast contribute towards achieving Major Events Strategy 2018-2027 objectives in several ways.

“The championships would continue to position the region as a high-performance sports destination among Pacific nations and showcase our much-loved destination to a large television audience with an international broadcast,” Cr Landsberg said.

“Local Rugby fans would no doubt embrace any opportunity to attend clinics and open training sessions, we expect some fans may even drive up from Brisbane for this.

“The three-year partnership demonstrated Council’s commitment to the pathway program and strengthened Sunshine Coast Council’s relationship with Oceania Rugby and by extension World Rugby for future events.

“Council is excited to see the event grow over the next few years and that growth may accommodate more Pacific Island teams like Tonga and Samoa to return to the Championship event.”

In making the announcement today, Lemalu Wayne Schuster, Oceania Rugby Interim General Manager acknowledging the impact that Covid-19 has had on the region recently said:

“The Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship provides an invaluable pathway for players and officials in our region and has been sorely missed over the last two years.”

“Oceania Rugby is proud to be partnering with the Sunshine Coast Council to bring this amazing event to Queensland over the next three years and provide confidence for participating teams in planning and enhancing pathways to the regional event.”

Oceania Rugby: Oceania Rugby is one of six regional associations of World Rugby, responsible for representing the interests of its 17 Members. Oceania Rugby works closely with Member Unions on the development and reach of rugby in the region to promote the growth of rugby throughout Oceania. Central to this is a series of tournaments and development programmes run and coordinated by Oceania Rugby. Oceania Rugby’s sport for development programmes contribute to achieving gender equality, reducing inequality, and ending violence against women and children, and are built around the rugby values: respect, integrity, solidarity, discipline and passion