Scotland Under-20 To Face Hosts In 2009 World Championship

Scotland Under-20 head coach Eamon John is excited about Scotland's opponents in the IRB Junior World Championship 2009 in June, but insists that the 6 Nations is the team's priority. Tokyo, Japan, is the base for all Pool B matches where Scotland will face Samoa, the hosts, Japan, and number two seeds England in June next year with the two knock-out rounds to follow on June 17 and 21.Scotland Under-20 head coach Eamon John is excited about Scotland's opponents in the IRB Junior World Championship 2009 in June, but insists that the 6 Nations is the team's priority.

Tokyo, Japan, is the base for all Pool B matches where Scotland will face Samoa, the hosts, Japan, and number two seeds England in June next year with the two knock-out rounds to follow on June 17 and 21.

Scotland under-20 head coach Eamon John, said: "There are no easy games in a world cup competition but we're pleased with the group because we'll face two teams outwith the 6 Nations which is good for the team's experience and development.

_x001C_It's exciting to be drawn against England, and Japan will certainly be doing their best to go all out in their own back yard. We've won and lost against Samoa so I expect the game to be tight and will likely come down to who gets their rugby right on the day.

_x001C_But at this stage I can't stress enough that the immediate challenge and priority for us is the coming 6 Nations which starts against Wales at home in February. All of our efforts and concentration will be geared towards that first as it's important that we get out preparation and performances right."

Reigning champions and number one seeds New Zealand top Pool A in Nagoya and will be joined by Argentina, Ireland and Uruguay, who will be playing in their first Championship after earning promotion after winning the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2008.

Pool C is headed by South Africa, who finished third in 2008, while France, Italy and Fiji will also play their pool matches in Osaka. Wales, the Championship hosts in 2008, are top seeds in Pool D in Fukuoka, and are joined by Australia, Canada and Tonga.

The tournament, which brings together the finest international players at Under 20 level, will be played between June 5-21 across four cities with Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka each hosting a pool.

The opening round of matches will be played on June 5, with subsequent pool fixtures played on June 9 and June 13, before Tokyo hosts the semi-finals on June 17, with the IRB Junior World Championship final played in Tokyo on June 21.

Speaking from Japan, IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said that he has been impressed with the Japan Rugby Football Union's level of commitment to deliver one of the best IRB Age Grade Championships ever.

_x001C_The IRB is extremely pleased with the level of dedication and professionalism that the Japan Rugby Football Union has invested in hosting this major international Rugby tournament. This professionalism is clearly reflected in the choice of venues in four major cities, meaning that each of the 16 teams will have access to world-class playing and training facilities,_x001D_ said Bourdarias.

_x001C_With matches being played in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya, the IRB Junior World Championship 2009 has the ability to engage the Rugby community on a wider scale than ever before. The Japan Rugby Football Union is committed to growing the Game in the country and an extensive dedicated legacy programme will be activated to maximise the impact of the Championship._x001D_

Japan Rugby Football Union Chairman and Vice President Nobby Mashimo said that Japan has a tremendous opportunity to show to showcase Rugby within the country and host a memorable and successful Championship.

_x001C_I hope that many Japanese fans will take this opportunity to experience world-class Rugby up close and personal. Also I hope that the legacy programme will create many opportunities for international exchange between participating teams and the Japan Rugby Community,_x001D_ said Mashimo.

_x001C_We are looking forward to hosting the tournament and hope that the 16 teams will enjoy the excellent facilities and experience all that Japan has to offer on and off the pitch, including our warm hospitality and friendship._x001D_

Yoshiru Mori, President of the Japan Rugby Football Union, added: _x001C_We would like to take this opportunity of hosting this tournament to not only appeal to the world with our rugby tournament potential, but to also make it our foothold for the further promotion and development of rugby in Asia. We want to successfully host this memorable tournament in Japan to the enjoyment of Rugby fans worldwide._x001D_

Notes to editors:

The full Championship schedule will be announced shortly.
IRB Junior World Championship 2009 Pools
Pool A: New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, Uruguay
Pool B: England, Samoa, Scotland, Japan
Pool C: South Africa, France, Italy, Fiji
Pool D: Wales, Australia, Canada, Tonga

The tournament will be played between 5 - 21 June across Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka - each hosting a pool.

The Scotland U20 World Cup management team:
Rob Moffat Head Coach
Tom Smith Assistant Coach
Eamon John Assistant Coach
John Jeffrey Manager
Gary Mercer Defence Coach
Mark Drury Fitness Coach
Dave Pugh Doctor
Paul McGinley Physio
Craig Chalmers CPD Coach
Murray Fleming Video Analyst
Michael James Media
Andrew Sleight Media Deputy
Ann McKinsley Team Administrator