England’s Craig Maxwell Keys is one of nine match officials who will take charge of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester.

Keys joins officials from Argentina, Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Wales and South Africa for the tournament, which has so far produced more than 400 graduates to the Test arena.

The U20 Championship is also a crucial development tournament for the world’s best emerging match officials, with many of the current top international referees having previously appeared at this tournament.

With New Zealand looking to retain the trophy won last year in Italy and England, last year’s beaten finalists, looking to impress on home soil, the stage is set for one of the most competitive U20 Championships, giving officials high-intensity, high-stakes conditions to deal with.

World Rugby High Performance Match Officials Manager Joël Jutge said: “The U20 Championship is a crucial platform for referees to take the next step up. With the level of competition increasing year on year, the tournament is an important part of our process to develop referees, who are aided by referee selectors and coaches, and receive feedback which will benefit them for years to come.”

See the Future Stars of Rugby at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester this June. For more information, including how to buy tickets, U20 Championship #FutureStarsofRugby

NICOL McCLELLAND