The tournament shall be played according to the World Rugby bye-laws, regulations and laws of the game. These can be found on the World Rugby website, www.worldrugby.org.

Tournament format

The World Rugby U20 Championship features 12 teams.

The team that finishes 12th at the complete of the 2017 tournament will be relegated to the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2018. The winning team from the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 will be promoted to the U20 Championship in 2018.

Pool phase

The 12 teams have been seeded into three pools of four teams.

Pool A Pool B Pool C
England     Ireland Argentina
Australia New Zealand South Africa
Wales Scotland France
Samoa Italy Georgia

Teams will play each other in each pool on a round-robin basis. Match points will be awarded for each pool match on the following basis:

Win = 4 points
Draw = 2 points
Scoring four tries or more = 1 point
Loss by seven or less points = 1 point
Loss by more than seven points = 0 points
No show = 0 points

Points will be awarded at the completion of each pool match and no extra-time shall be played.

Ranking within pools

At the conclusion of the pool phase, the teams in a pool are ranked one through four based on their cumulative match points, and identified respectively as winner, runner up, third and fourth.

If, at the completion of the pool phase, two or more teams are level on match points, then the following criteria shall be used in the following order until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:

(i) The winner of the match in which the two tied teams have played each other shall be the higher ranked:
(ii)    The team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(iii)    The team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(iv)    The team which has scored most points in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked:
(v)    The team which has scored most tries in all its pool matches shall be the higher ranked: and
(vi)    If none of the above produce a result, then it will be resolved with a toss of a coin.

Seeding for round four

At the end of the pool phase, the teams will be seeded based on the position in which they finished in their respective pools.

1st Seed – Pool winner with most competition points
2nd Seed – Pool winner with second most competition points
3rd Seed – Pool winner with third most competition points
4th Seed – Pool second place with most competition points
5th Seed – Pool second place with second most competition points
6th Seed – Pool second place with third most competition points
7th Seed – Pool third place with most competition points
8th Seed – Pool third place with second most competition points
9th Seed – Pool third place with third most competition points
10th Seed – Pool fourth place with most competition points
11th Seed – Pool fourth place with second most competition points
12th Seed – Pool fourth place with third most competition points

If two or more teams are level on match points, then the same criteria as that used after the pool rounds (ranking within pools) will be used (excluding criteria (i)) as above.

Based on the seeding, the allocation of fourth round matches will be as follows:

Match No Kick-off Match Venue
    For rankings 9-12  
19 13:00 10th seed v 11th seed  Avchala
20 15:30 9th seed v 12th seed Avchala
    For rankings 5-8  
21 18:00 6th seed v 7th seed Avchala
22 15:30 5th seed v 8th seed* M Meskhi
    Semi-finals  
23 18:00 2nd seed v 3rd seed M Meskhi
24 20:30 1st seed v 4th seed M Meskhi

* Georgia will play the first match at M Meshki no matter what position they are playing for, unless unvolved in the semi-finals in which case they will play in the corresponding fixture

Knock-out phase

For the finals, if teams are tied at full time, then the winner shall be determined through the following sequential criteria;

(a) Sudden death / extra-time – following an interval of five minutes, extra-time of 10 minutes each way (with an interval of five minutes) shall be played. During the extra-time periods, the first team to score any points (a try, a successful penalty kick or a drop goal) shall be declared the winner.

(b) Kicking competition – if, after the extra-time periods, no winner can be declared, a kicking competition will be organised between the two teams. The winner of that competition shall be declared the winner of the match.

The kicking competition shall take place as follows:

(c) All players and match officials will remain on the playing enclosure. The referee will call the captains of the two teams to the centre of the pitch and will conduct a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss then may either choose which team kicks first (in which case the loser chooses the end at which all kicks will be taken) or choose the end at which will be taken (in which case the loser chooses which team kicks first). 

(d) Each team captain must nominate five players to participate in the kicking competition. Only the five players nominated by the captains and present on the playing enclosure at the time of the completion of the extra-time may take part in the kicking competition. No injured, substituted or dismissed player may take part at any time. The order in which the players kick does not have to be pre-determined. 

(e) The match officials and team members will assemble on the halfway line. Team members must remain behind the halfway line in the side of the playing area not used for the kicking competition. No one except the referee, two assistant referees and two ball boys is allowed in the part of the playing area being used for the competition. 

(f) The five players from each team will place kick from three different points, all on the 22-metre line, as follows:

First point: Directly in front of the posts
Second point: On the 15-metre line on the left hand side facing the posts
Third point: On the 15-metre line on the right hand side facing the posts

(g) The referee will start the competition by calling the first player selected from the team kicking first to the first kicking point. Once the player has taken the kick, the referee calls a player from the opposing team to kick from the same point.

The next two players (one from each team) will kick from the second point in turn. This will continue until all five players from each team have kicked (the next players kicking respectively from the third point, first area and finally the second point), or until one team is unable to equal the score of the other team within the remaining number of kicks. 

If there are an equal number of successful kicks once each team has completed its five kicks, the competition continues on a “sudden death” basis, following the same order of kickers used in the first five kicks. 

The competition will continue two kicks at a time (one from each side), going progressively through the three kicking areas stated above (and repeating the process if necessary) until one player succeeds with a kick and the player from the other side taking the same kick misses it. Once this occurs, the team of the player who succeeded with the kick will be declared the winner. Each of these additional kicks shall be taken by the same five players in rotation.  

Throughout the kicking competition:

(a) Once a player has been handed the ball by the referee on the kicking point, he must take the kick within one minute. Should he take longer, the referee shall declare the kick void and therefore a miss.

(b) After each kick, the referee records the number of the player and whether or not the attempt was successful. The match commissioner will record the same details on the official match report.

(c) Once a player has completed his kick, he shall return to stand with his team behind the halfway line in the side of the playing area not used. 

Match duration

The duration of matches is determined by Law 5 of the World Rugby laws of the game. 

Refusal to play and expelled teams

If a team wilfully refuses to play, or wilfully abandons a match in progress, that team will score no match points and its opponent will be given four match points as winner of the match. The team declared winner will keep its score for and will have no points scored against. The team declared loser will keep its points scored against and will have no points scored for. The Tournament Director and/or the Disputes Committee will decide upon the further participation of the team in the tournament which has refused to play or abandoned a match in progress.

 

If a team has been expelled from the tournament, for whatever reason, then:

 

(a) That team shall be deemed to have been awarded no pool competition table points and to have scored no tries or points in the pool matches; and 

 

(b) For the purposes of determining standings in the pool phase, all match results against such team shall be deemed null and void. This means that all pool competition points awarded in matches against the expelled team and tries and points scored or conceded in matches against such team will not be taken into account in determining standings in the pool table.

 

Cancelled and abandoned matches

 

In the interests of the teams, the commencement of matches at the scheduled time shall be the first priority in all instances. However, in circumstances deemed necessary by World Rugby, matches may need to be delayed, postponed, abandoned, or cancelled. All decisions in this regard shall be communicated to teams by the match commissioner. 

 

Apart from the wilful abandonment of a match and subsequent expulsion in the event of a match having to be stopped after its commencement under the provisions of the laws of the game, then subject to confirmation by the Disputes Committee, the following procedure shall apply:

 

(a) Where a match has been abandoned either at half-time or at any time in the second half, the result and any points and tries scored by each team in the match shall stand.

 

(b) Where a pool match has been abandoned during the first half the result shall be declared a draw. In this instance, each team will be awarded two match points and any points and tries scored will count towards the total points and tries scored by each team in all their pool matches

 

(c) In the knock-out phase, if the teams are drawn, the winner shall be determined in accordance with the following criteria, in the following order:

(i) the team which has scored most tries during the match is declared the winner;

(ii) the team that has scored most points during the tournament is declared the winner;

(iii) the team which has scored most tries during the tournament is declared the winner;

(iv) the team that has received less red cards during the match is declared the winner;

(v) the team that has received less yellow cards during the match is declared winner;

(vi) the team that has received less red cards during the tournament is declared the winner;

(vii) the team that has received less yellow cards during the tournament is declared winner;

(viii) if none of the above produce a result, then the winner will be determined with a toss of a coin