World Rugby

Five Storylines To Follow In The 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship

Five Storylines To Follow In The 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship

Here are five talking points ahead of the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship, which will kick off in Cape Town, South Africa, as the best U20 do battle.

Jun 27, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Five Storylines To Follow In The 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship

The 2024 World Rugby Under 20 Championship nearly is upon us, with Round 1 kicking off this Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa.

As 12 elite U20 rugby nations get set to do battle, there are several key talking points that will be worth following in this year’s competition, which will take place June 29 through July 19.

So, without further ado, here are the key storylines to follow in this year’s Championship:

Champions On The Wane

Three titles on the bounce takes some doing, but can reigning champion France lock down a fourth title in 2024? 

Based on their Six Nations form, one would be led to believe that this season will be a step too far for the record-chasing Les Bleus. 

Winning this year’s championship would equal New Zealand’s remarkable four titles in a row between 2008-2011. 

While France lost last season’s Six Nations title to Ireland, the team's ability to call on several big hitters from the Top 14 for the World Championship took the squad to a level above any U20 team we have ever seen. 

This year, however, their squad does not quite have the quality of years gone by. This by no means is to suggest they are afterthoughts, as they undoubtedly will pose a threat to every side they come up against.  

Rugby Championship Sides Well Prepared

For the first time in history, the Southern Hemisphere’s big four - Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - will enter the World Championship having already competed against one another in 2024. 

Topping the pile in the inaugural U20 Rugby Championship, New Zealand struck the first blow on its closest rivals. 

Behind them, each team would claim a lone win over another to leave a congested table. 

To its credit, South Africa did secure a draw with New Zealand but was found wanting against Australia and just about snuck by Argentina. This run of results makes predicting which of these four sides will be true contenders in Cape Town a challenge. 

Unlike the Six Nations, which had a clear pecking order, any of the four Rugby Championship sides looks to have the potential to plot a run to the title.

Six Nations Table Toppers Set To Duke It Out

Claiming the 2024 Six Nations title by a single log point, England laid down a marker ahead of the game’s U20 global showpiece. Of course, the men in white did not have it all their own way, as they could not be separated from Ireland, which they drew with at home in a nail-biting contest. 

This 32-32 draw set the stage for a shootout in Round 5, with England claiming an impressive bonus point victory over France, in France, to snatch the title. 

For Ireland, it would bring an end to a dominant run in the Six Nations, as a title would’ve been its third in a row. This, however, does not take away from how impressive the Irish side was, and despite now having a new head coach, following Richie Murphy’s move to the senior ranks with Ulster, the men in green will enter the competition as joint-favorites with their English rivals.

Not So Long Shots

In a nod to the ever-increasing competitive nature of international rugby, this year’s Championship is about as wide open as it gets, with several teams from less-heralded nations poised to spring an upset or two. 

Chief among these sides are Italy and Georgia, which arguably possess the two strongest set-piece packs in this year’s competition. 

Italy blitzed its opponents in this year’s U20 Six Nations at scrum and maul time, and while this did not get the team quite to the point it would have hoped, it did secure two wins and brought Italy within a whisker of upsetting Ireland in Cork. 

Georgia, on the other hand, is fresh off a dominant two-match series win over Six Nations champion England and will be looking to build on an impressive showing in last season’s Championship, where the team beat both Italy and Argentina. 

If fans are looking for outside bets to follow, they could do a lot worse than these two sides.

New Kids On The Block

Such is the nature of promotion and relegation, and opportunities arise for developing nations to take major leaps forward should they top the World Rugby Trophy competition. 

Doing just this is the 2023 winner, Spain, which downed Uruguay in the final to claim its place at the top table of U20 rugby. 

Drawn in a tough pool alongside France, New Zealand and Wales, Spain has an incredible opportunity to leave its mark on the competition. Should Spain claim the scalp of any of these major nations to avoid the 11th-place playoff and guarantee its place in next year’s competition, it would be a major result.

How To Watch Rugby Matches In the United States On FloRugby

The URC will stream all its matches on FloRugby and the FloSports app in the United States. FloRugby and FloSports also are the U.S. home to: 

FloRugby also is home to match archives and match replays. 

Join The Rugby Conversation On FloRugby Social