6N U20 “Summer Series” announced

A two week-long Six Nations festival will take place in Parma in July. Teams will be nominally U20, but may include up to three U23 players in their match squad.

Published by John Birch, May 8, 2024

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6N U20 “Summer Series” announced

Six Nations Rugby has announced the creation of the Six Nations Women’s Summer Series - an international age-group rugby festival - which will debut this July, in Parma, Italy.

Starting on the 4th of July 2024, and running until the 14th, the inaugural festival will feature teams from all of the Six Nations, playing on three match days, with the aim of developing up and coming players international rugby experience.

The Series is intended to be the next step in a development pathway after Under-18 level, which already has a successful annual festival of its own.

The festival will also give opportunities to new coaches and match officials to gain vital experience and develop alongside each other.

Games will be played on the 4th, 9th, and 14th July, with and will feature teams made up of predominately Under-20 players, but with each union able to select up to three Under-23 players per match day squad.

Although described as a "competition" it does not appear that there will be any official end-of-festival ranking.

France will go into the festival having not lost an U20 game since 2018 and having beaten England 74-0 last month. Despite that defeat, England will also be tough opposition especially after their 45-5 win against Wales on Saturday. Wales had a long history of U20 rugby prior to 2012, including wins over Canada and England, but only reformed the team for a tour of the USA last year.

Of the other three teams, Scotland have occasionally fielded a "Scotland Futures XV" (most recently last year when they lost 66-19 to England U20 in Newcastle) but not a formal U20 team; Italy's U20s only previous game was a 5-10 defeat against a Spanish U21 team (also last year) and Ireland have never fielded a U20 team before. The ability to field up to three U23s will likely be used most by the latter three teams to strengthen their teams against the former.

Given this disparity of experience it is perhaps not surprising that a festival format has been chosen for the first edition.

Matches have clearly been carefully selected, with France in particular only playing the three most experienced teams and being kept away from Italy and Ireland. England similarly will play the two most experienced teams, Wales and France, though they will also be Ireland's opposition for their debut fixture. As well as playing France and England, Wales will end against Italy.

But the key is clearly to try to pull the development programmes of the rest of the Six Nations up to the levels of France and England

Julie Paterson, Chief of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said: “Performances from England and France in the senior Women’s Six Nations have highlighted the benefit a successful development infrastructure, and thriving domestic club game, can accelerate the develop of players. The combination of the Under-18 Festivals and now the Women’s Summer Series, provides an opportunity for rugby experience to be gained for the benefit of all six unions and federations.

"With energy and enthusiasm, coupled with patience and support, the pathway will feed through to the elite women’s game".

The Six Nations Women’s Summer Series will be streamed via the Six Nations Rugby YouTube channels, with supporting coverage across dedicated Under-20 Six Nations social media channels.

*** USA Rugby have also announced that their U20 and U18 teams will be travelling to Cardiff for the TransAtlantic Quad Series, facing off with Canada, Wales and England from July 14th - 24th. The U18s will follow with a trio of matches against international sides in a festival style competition from July 20-28, also in Cardiff. The focus for this event will be early development with joint training sessions, a festival style mid-week competition, and full matches to end the week.

Match dates, times and live stream information is still coming together and will be shared on USA Rugby channels when available.