Oceania Rugby Championship kicks off at Bond

April 29, 2015

***UPDATE: First match day has been postponed to Saturday 2 May

The 2015 Oceania Rugby Junior Championship is set to turn Bond University into a battlefield, with the best in Under 20s Rugby talent from Japan, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia descending upon the Gold Coast campus to compete in the tournament from May 1-9.

Queensland Reds players Adam Korczyk and Michael Gunn will play for Australia in the inaugural development competition, held in the lead up to the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy in June.

New Zealand and Japan are set to go head-to-head in the first match of the tournament at Bond University on Friday, May 1, with the competition finals taking place on Saturday, May 9.

Australian Rugby Union General Manager Pathways and Performance, Ben Whitaker said he was looking forward to the upcoming tournament.

“The Oceania Junior Rugby Championship is an excellent opportunity for all countries to develop their up and coming players," said Mr Whitaker.

“As host nation we also thank World Rugby and Oceania Rugby for their support in developing the competition.

“Bond University, a valued partner of Australian Rugby, will provide a world class location and facilities for these international Under 20 players to prepare and play during the period of the tournament. 

“I know our Australian side is very much looking forward to the rigours of the competition and to testing themselves in match conditions before heading to the World Championship.

“On behalf of the ARU we welcome all participating nations to Australia and wish them all the best for the tournament.”  

Bond University Director of Sport, Garry Nucifora, said the competition was an important opportunity for high performance players from all four nations to strengthen their preparations in the lead up to the Under 20s World Championship.

"We are extremely pleased to host the 2015 Oceania Rugby Junior Championship, and warmly welcome all national and international staff and players to Bond University," said Mr Nucifora.

"It is shaping up to be a tough competition between the four competing nations, and we encourage all rugby fans to come down to the games and cheer their team on to victory."

In partnership with the Australian Rugby Union and Federation of Oceania Rugby Union, Bond University is offering a number of industry experience opportunities during the preparation camp to students studying sports management, exercise and sport science, physiotherapy or communications.

"Four Bond students will be interning during the competition in tournament management, strength and conditioning, physiotherapy and media management, assisting Australian Rugby Union staff during the event to gain important industry experience," he said.

Oceania Rugby Tournament Director, Wayne Schuster promises an exciting championship.

"The Inaugural Oceania Rugby Junior Championship is an exciting prospect for Under 20s players in our region and will give fans the opportunity to see the next generation of players from the four respective nations," said Mr Schuster.

“It is also very exciting to have Japan participate in the competition as they will be looking to build on their preparations for the World Rugby U20s Championship in Italy”. 

Japan defeated Tonga in Hong Kong last year at the World Rugby U20s Trophy, to earn a spot at this year’s World Rugby 20s Championship.

“We are looking forward to watching a great spectacle of Rugby and we strongly encourage people to come and watch the next generation of Rugby stars from Oceania and Japan.” 

The general public are encouraged to attend on the final day of play (Saturday, May 9), entry is $5 to be paid at the gate with kids under 12 free.

People who are not able to travel to Bond University to watch the tournament will be able to watch through rugby.com.au and oceaniarugby.com through a live stream of each match.

2015 Oceania Junior Championship Match Dates:

All matches will be played at Bond University, Gold Coast

Round 1 - ***UPDATE: Match postponed to Saturday 2 May 

1.00pm                 New Zealand V Japan

3.00pm                 Australia V Samoa

Round 2 - Tuesday 5 May

1.00pm                 Samoa V New Zealand

3.00pm                 Japan V Australia

Round 3 - Saturday 9 May

1.00pm                 Samoa V Japan 

3.00pm                 Australia V New Zealand