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World Rugby U20 Championship Launches in Georgia

The 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship launched in Georgia on Sunday with captain Zach Mercer in attendance representing England.

The RPA Young Player of the Year was joined by the captain of the seven other teams based in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, ahead of the first round of fixtures on Wednesday 31 May.

England face Samoa for the first time at U20 level in their opening Pool A match and Mercer feels his side are in a good place.

“We know they will be a big, physical side but they are a bit of an unknown for us and we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Mercer. “It’s important we don’t underestimate them and hopefully we can get our campaign off to a positive start.”

The Bath back-row forward added: “We showed in the Six Nations we have a lot of depth and quality in our squad and we know everyone will have to play their part throughout the tournament,” he added. “We enjoyed a productive training session today, getting used to the conditions and we are all just really excited to get going.”

England will meet familiar faces in their second fixture when they come up against Wales on Sunday 4 June. The two sides recently met in the Six Nations, with England coming out 37-21 winners.

Australia, who were in England’s pool last year, are the opposition for their final pool game on Thursday 8 June.

World Rugby will broadcast the U20 Championship to more than 110 countries when the tournament kicks off this week.

All of the group stage matches will be streamed live on http://www.worldrugby.org  with highlights shown on ITV4 on Wednesday 31 May, Sunday 4 June and Thursday 8 June.  The semi-finals and final will be shown live on ITV4.