Many of the game’s leading players have graduated from this competition to the very top level of international rugby and, so, what better way to look forward to the tournament than by scouting some of the ones to watch from the Guinness PRO14.
Craig Casey (Munster)
Munster’s 20-year-old scrum-half has made only one appearance for the Irish province, in their 27-14 win over rivals Connacht at Thomond Park in April, and it only lasted four minutes but already the highly-rated youngster has greatly impressed and could have a standout tournament in South America.
Particularly strong on the ball Casey was named academy player of the year for the province this year and he played a starring role in Ireland Under-20s’ maiden Grand Slam win in the Six Nations Under-20s Championship in February and March.
Casey scored two tries during that campaign and as one of Ireland’s vice-captains he will have the weight of expectation and responsibility on him during the competition.
Dewi Lake (Ospreys)
Welshman Lake is Wales Under-20s captain and an exceptionally exciting young hooker who has broken through the ranks at Ospreys to make four senior appearances to date.
The former gymnast in his school days is a strong ball-carrier while he is also particularly adept at winning turnovers on the floor.
His game is built on an impressive amount of power and this should come to the fore as he attempts to lead Wales to better their seventh-place finish in 2018.
Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)
Fellow Wales man Conbeer made his first appearance for Scarlets in 2016 and the pacey winger has been on the radars of many ever since.
Last year he made three appearances in the Guinness PRO14 for the Scarlets on their run to the final.
But this year the 20-year-old has made an impression at Welsh Premiership side Llanelli with his incisive runs and ability to quick foot his way past defenders.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) 24 February 2018
Dylan Tierney-Martin (Connacht)
Connacht academy man Tierney-Martin made the switch to front row last year, but it is in the back row where he made his name in schools rugby.
Tierney-Martin has been a standout star for Ireland Under 20s and it is ability to learn quickly which has impressed coaches in and around the youngster.
And the newly converted hooker scored two tries earlier this year in their victory over England as they went on to achieve the Grand Slam.
Azur Allison (Ulster)
Ulster academy man Allison has made a big impression at Ballymena RFC with the No.8 having also captained Ireland Under 19s last season.
Allison is known for his deft offloading and quick thinking which makes him a particularly bright spark in any side.
Look out for Allison in Argentina as he will be a key cog in Ireland’s side.
Last year’s Irish U19 captain Azur Allison is another exciting back row prospect who joined the Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy this summer.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) 30 July 2018
Filippo Alongi (Zebre)
19-year-old Alongi has made two appearances for Italian side Zebre and caught the eye with more than just his long hair and thick beard.
Alongi is an intense tighthead prop with strength and brilliant tackling ability but his ball carrying and offloading should also not be overlooked.
The Italian is a raw talent but he could certainly light up the competition.
Jack Blain (Edinburgh)
Winger Blain became the first person born this century to play a competitive match for Edinburgh against Benetton earlier this season such is the ability the all-round sportsman possesses.
His debut performance was solid and showed signs of things to come with Scotland Under 20 coach Carl Hogg describing the youngster as an outstanding performer. There is more to come from Blain and this summer could be the next step.
Lennon Greggains (Dragons)
Flanker Greggains made his way through the Dragons academy to the full senior side with four appearances to date.
Greggains especially showed what he is made of when he stepped up and was counted under pressure in the Dragons 28-15 defeat to Ulster.
The Welshman is known for his ability to score tries and Wales Under 20s will be hoping he lives up to this reputation this summer.
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