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Zimbabwe to stage World Rugby’s U20 Trophy

World Rugby has awarded the hosting rights for its 2016 U20 Trophy national team tournament to Zimbabwe.

Harare Sports Ground will stage four match days from April 19 to May 1 after the decision to take the tournament to the African nation was approved by the World Rugby Council.

Eight national teams will contest the tournament, with the winner gaining a place at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship.

Hosts Zimbabwe will be joined by Uruguay, Namibia and Samoa, along with four regional qualifiers from Europe, North America, Oceania and Asia.

President of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union, John Falkenberg, said: “I would like to thank World Rugby for their confidence and commitment. Being awarded the hosting rights for this prestigious tournament will have a lasting impact on the development of the game, not just in Zimbabwe where we have a long and proud heritage that continues to grow, but also in the region. Hosting and participating in the World Rugby U20 Trophy is an achievement that will inspire and encourage players and fans and promote rugby as a leading sport in the country.”

World Rugby head of competitions and performance, Mark Egan, added: “The U20 Trophy is growing in importance year-on-year and provides a crucial pathway for academy players from our high performance tier two and performance unions to achieving full international honours at future Rugby World Cups. It is interesting to note that over a third of all players participating at RWC 2015 have come through the World Rugby U20 competitions pathway.”