Thursday, January 05, 2006
General Discussions: What's on in 2006
With memories of 2005 still fresh, it's time to look forward to another year of outstanding Rugby action around the globe.
Rugby World Cup 2007 qualifying
Last year 100 RWC qualifying matches were played. This year sees the entrance of the 'big boys' such as Argentina, Uruguay, USA and Canada in the Americas, and Italy and Portugal in Europe. It all begins with a local derby - Andorra v Spain - on 11 March.
Could this be the season that New Zealand relinquishes the IRB Sevens title? With two events already completed, they lie a lowly sixth in the overall standing, 18 points behind leaders Fiji. But, with six events to go, victory at the IRB Sevens New Zealand in Wellington on 3/4 February would put them right back in the hunt.
The circuit continues to the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Paris, before reaching its climax in London on 3/4 June. In March, there is also the small matter of the Commonwealth Games Sevens tournament in Melbourne, Australia.
Before the end of 2006, another IRB Sevens series will have begun.
IRB Under 19 World Championship 2006
The IRB U19 World Championship finds a new home in Dubai from 4-21 April 2006. Once again, the best young players from around the globe will compete in two 12-team divisions. The most recent addition to the team list is Chinese Taipei, who qualified after finishing third behind Japan and Korea in the recent Asian Rugby Football Union Under 19 Championships in Lahore, Pakistan.
IRB Under 21 World Championship 2006
South Africa, winners of the IRB U21 crown in Argentina last year, will be looking to retain their title this year in France. The tournament will take place in June.
IRB Women's Rugby World Cup 2006
Edmonton in Canada is the venue for the Women's Rugby World Cup from 31 August to 17 September. 12 teams, including defending champions New Zealand will be vying for the title. The tournament starts with a bang - New Zealand play home team Canada in the opening match - on the first of six exciting match days.
There will also be a growing number of regional events and tournaments around the world, which form part of the IRB's ongoing strategic development plan. For all the latest throughout the year, log on to www.irb.com.