World Rugby under 20 Championship has been running for ten years now since the first tournament took place in Wales back in 2008.
In the past 11 years, only South Africa and New Zealand have won rugby’s ultimate prize, the William Webb Ellis. Springboks winning in 2007 and the Allblacks winning 2011 and 2015 respectively.
Lets look at the junior Springboks success since 2002: Jake White was head coach of the South African under 21 side when they lifted the title. In 2003 they finished in 3rd place, they also achieved the same result in 2004 and 05, in 2006 they were runners up.
Springboks went on to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
New Zealand on the other hand, had suffered losses in 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2007 but their junior rugby success has been immense.
In 2002, they finished third in the under 21 rugby world cup, 2003, 2004 and 2005 they won the competition but failed at lifting the William Webb Ellis.
In 2008 to 2011, Junior Allbalcks won the renamed Under 20 World Cup for four years on the trott.
New Zealand have gone on to win 2011 World Cup and 2015 World Cup.
In the Junior under 20 World Cup:
South Africa – (Winners in u/21 format 2002) Champions 2012
England – Champions 2013 ’14 ’16 – England have been in 8 Finals in the past 10 years in u/20 Championship
New Zealand – Champions 2008 ’09 ’10 ’11 ’15 ’17
Australia – Runners Up in 2002, runners up in 2003, runners up in 2005 and 2010
In the past two years we’ve seen England serge through an unbeaten run of 18 games and winning back to back 6 Nations titles.
England will be in the running in 2019 and 2023, of course New Zealand will be tournament favourites because they filter their talent through draft system and giving opportunity for players to get a run at the highest level. England are currently on the same path as New Zealand since Eddie Jones took over from Stuart Lancaster.
Ireland are not too far off, 3rd place in 2014 and runners up in 2016.
South Africa needs to play more games at under 19/20 level. They need at least 10 fixtures before going to the World Cup as some of the other top sides earn valuable caps prior to the Junior World Cup.