November is always a busy month in the rugby world, as the international window opens and we see each nation pick its best athletes to represent their countries not only at senior level but also in the U20s, as is the case with the Rugby Europe Championship.
Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Czechia, Belgium, and Germany will be in Oeiras and Lisbon to battle for the Championship from the 6th of November until the 13th with all teams playing three matches.
As in every Rugby Europe youth tournament, the competition will be played in knockout style, but with a ranking system.
From the quarter finals match up to the final, all eight teams will launch their aspiring young players into the action.
Ahead of the competition we present to you the players who are set to shine in the 2022 Rugby Europe Championship.
- António Maltez (Portugal): the Portuguese prop rarely smiles, as he looks focused on his mission to dominate at the set-piece while being a very agile unit that can help the backline to create attacking gaps.
- Héctor Matamoros (Spain): a gifted lock, Spain’s Héctor Matamoros was one of the best players in 2021 tournament, his strong defensive skills, agile handling, and game control makes him one of the contenders for MVP.
- Anton Troch (Germany): a tackler-snatcher, the German blindside flanker who knows well how and when to capture the opposition ball carrier, aside from being quick to plunder a ruck and score a turnover.
- Marian Bodorin (Romania): A working machine, the hooker is poised to show why he is one of the best U20’s Romanian prospects, be it to his agility and set-piece prowess.
- Kacper Fedoniuk (Poland): A bright lock, he can be a problem for the opposition in the lineout, as he does have a tendency to steal the ball, injecting much-needed calm in the set-piece.
- Luca Deplechin (Belgium): the Belgian prop has already proved his worth at a senior level, as he played for the Brussels Devils, and will make a name for himself in the Rugby Europe Championship U20. If the opposing side doesn’t take him seriously, the prop will take the lead and have fun in the scrum.
- Ullman Erik (Czechia): a flanker that doesn’t let his team down, always running and trying to fetch the ball be it in the tackle, breakdown, or air.
- Tim de Jong (Netherlands): was also one of the best players in the 2021 Rugby Europe Championship, the nº8 is that type of unit that can really change the outcome of a match, due to his physicality that can win the advantage line.
- Teun Karst (Netherlands): Another that has made a name for himself in the 2021’s U18 competition, the Dutch lock does have a knack to jump higher than his foes, and being a torment when he afforded space in the back-line.
- Francisco Meneres (Portugal): a talented first five-eight, the Portuguese back can kick with tremendous class, driving his team forward, finding gaps in the opposition’s defense over and over again.
- Daniel Catanzaro (Spain): a special player, the Spanish centre Daniel Catanzaro is on the road to be one of the new standouts for his country, as his high work-rate, well-defined skills and game intellect.
- Alin Conache (Romania): the Romanian scrum-half owns what we can call a rocket pass, providing a stable and strong ball possession to his side, and supporting well his teammates when there’s a line break. Good kicking skills also, which can be key when Romania are inside their oppositions 22.
- Patryk Chain (Poland): A rapid and intense player, the Polish centre is set to be one of the best surprises of the competition, and the opposition must not give space and time to him, or they will suffer heavy consequences.
- Niklas Bechtel (Germany): a refined kicking specialist, the German fly-half does know how to steer the command of a backline and can provide a confident attitude to his team.
- Marius Dehoust (Belgium): If the fly-half makes an appearance for Belgium the nº10 brings a special flair to the pitch, having already amassed some game time for the Brussels Devils.
- Adam Miřácký (Czechia): if you followed the 2022 Rugby Europe’s 7’s season, then you know who Adam Miřácký is, and what the winger can do, mainly when holding the ball in his hands. A speedster that knows how to hunt and intercept the oval ball.
Sixteen players were picked from a very large pool of options, which shows how good the U20 competition will be. Los Leones are the reigning champions and will certainly be on the best path to retain the title, but there are seven teams looking to make history.
Every game will be broadcast live on rugbyeurope.tv and the full schedule can be found here.
By Francisco Isaac