The IRF Youth league is a fairly new one, with the first World Champs for youth being held in 2010. Since this league has been introduced we have always had to make exceptions to the age range so as to ensure the event is viable with enough teams.
After carefully looking at other international sports and combining this with the IRF’s aims to develop the youth sector, the IRF Sport & Competition Committee has now added a Junior league to their collection.
Youth league = Under 19 (including the year they turn 19)
Junior league = Under 23 (including the year they turn 23).
These two leagues will hold their events together and so increase the number of teams that can attend these events. Having these two leagues and keeping the bottom end of the Junior league open will cater well for the countries who already have well developed youth sections as well as for the countries who are just starting out to develop them.
This will also do away with the need to keep making exceptions due to not enough Youth teams being able to attend a Youth World Champs.
The first key IRF event that will be held along these newly defined age groups will be the World Champs in New Zealand in November next year. Between now and then though, we expect many countries will be setting up there national selections along these lines so as to choose their top teams for these leagues.