Hosts France looking for fast start at World Rugby Under 20 Championship

Wednesday sees the World Rugby U20 Championship get underway in France with all six member of the Under-20 Six Nations looking to make an impact.

Wednesday sees the World Rugby U20 Championship get underway in France with all six member of the Under-20 Six Nations looking to make an impact.

France, Championship winners early this year and hosts of this latest edition of the world event, are paired with Ireland in Pool C.

While in Pool B, familiar faces England, Scotland and Italy are all drawn together, leaving Wales in Pool A alongside southern hemisphere heavyweights Australia and New Zealand.

Here’s everything you need to know about the tournament that kicks off on Wednesday in Narbonne as the defending champions the Baby Blacks kick off proceedings against Japan.   HOSTS LOOKING TO SHINE   France impressed earlier this year in taking the 2018 Under-20s Six Nations title – only losing to England in an otherwise flawless campaign that saw them earn the crown on points difference.

And over the next month they will be hoping to produce their best again on home soil and challenge for the world crown that they have never won before.

They have finished fourth on three separate occasions but they will need to start fast on Wednesday against their Six Nations rivals Ireland.

They claimed a thrilling 34-24 win over their Irish opponents in the Championship earlier this year as Romain Ntamack crossed for two tries and they held off a late fightback.

Ntamack starts again on Wednesday while Ireland, captained by Caelan Doris, will be hoping to go one better than their run to the final back in 2016.   ENGLAND’S LONG LEGACY   England were unseated as Under-20s Six Nations champions earlier this year by France, but on the world stage they have serious pedigree.

They have reached the last five finals in a row, winning three of them, and eight of the last ten finals in total.

But they will need to hit the ground running this summer to continue that run – starting with Argentina who they face in their opener.

Ben Curry has been named as captain for their opener – he toured Argentina with the senior squad last summer.

Harlequins duo Marcus Smith and Gabriel Ibitoye, who both trained with England’s senior squad during the NatWest 6 Nations, are on the bench for Steve Bates’ side as well.

Scotland and Italy renew rivalries in the other Pool B game, with Italy hoping for a repeat of their impressive 45-21 victory back in March.

Scotland head coach Bryan Redpath includes 20 of his 28-man squad who lined up in the Under-20s Six Nations and claimed an historic win over England during that Championship.   WALES HOPING TO HIT HEIGHTS   Wales finished as runners-up in this tournament back in 2013, but have struggled a little in recent years.

And in a pool that includes New Zealand and Australia, Geraint Lewis’ charges will have their work cut out for them.

But with Tommy Reffell captaining the side and six players back from last year’s tournament in Georgia – including Scarlets centre Ioan Nicholas – they will hope to hit the Wallabies hard in their first game of the tournament.