The 50-day countdown to the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand on Sunday will see His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge hand over the distinctive trophy to All Black scrum half Aaron Smith in Dunedin.
Smith, a member of the New Zealand Under 20 side that won the first Junior World Championship title in Wales back in 2008, will receive the trophy during a Regal Royal Fun Day at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are attending the Fun Day as part of their tour of New Zealand.
The Fun Day will see eight rippa rugby teams participate in a mini tournament, which will be overseen by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw with Sevens captains DJ Forbes and Huriana Manuel among the other national players in attendance.
“We’re really honoured that Prince William has agreed to do this,” said JWC 2014 Tournament Manager Dan Tatham.
“We know he’s a keen rugby fan and given England are the current holders of the Junior World Championship trophy, it’s fantastic that we can mark 50 days to kick-off with an official royal handover to the host country.
“It’s also great that Aaron will receive the trophy. He’s a terrific ambassador for the game and proof that the Junior World Championship provides a platform for gifted young players to achieve higher honours.
“His teammates in 2008 included Sam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty and Zac Guildford who have all pulled on the black jersey in recent years.”
The IRB Junior World Championship 2014 takes place from 2-20 June with matches at QBE Stadium in North Harbour and ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe with the final to be held at Eden Park