The Championship, which will be hosted in the Gold Coast in Australia next year in April (exact dates to be confirmed), will see up and coming stars of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa do battle on an annual basis.
The competition will be played annually in one country and will comprise a round robin where all four teams will play each other once across a three-week period. The top team after the three-round, six match tournament will be declared the winner.
“We've been trying for a long time to organise more competitive matches for the Junior Springboks as lack of quality gametime is something we've identified as lacking from the U20 programme,” said Erasmus.
“It was clear that the Six Nations teams participating in this year's World Rugby U20 Championship came into the tournament better prepared for the rigours of international rugby.
“Nothing prepares a player better for top-level competition than regular exposure to match situations, and there isn't a better way to do this, than to play. We are very excited about this new competition and would like to commend SANZAAR for putting it together.”
Nhleko said: “This is exciting news and we are looking forward to three tough games against talented opposition. It’s a good opportunity for players to affirm their places in the squad, and to test our systems as we build cohesion and momentum for the World Rugby U20 Championship.
“This initiative is an important development for the SANZAAR teams’ pathway programmes, not only as match preparation for the world championship, but it’s also a life experience for the players to travel to different countries and experience different environments and cultures.
“We’d like to thank SA Rugby and applaud the efforts of all stakeholders in making this tournament possible. Each international game at this level is important in helping player development and laying a foundation for the World Rugby U20 Championship as well as the players’ senior professional careers.”
The Championship will allow for a more defined pathway for younger players into senior and international rugby and provide a springboard into the annual World Rugby Under 20 Championship that is currently missing.
SANZAAR Chairman Hamish McLennan said: “It has long been recognised that the missing link in our junior pathways was the existence of a SANZAAR international championship for up-and-coming talent. I am really excited that SANZAAR is now committing to this new championship.
“The SANZAAR member unions and I are confident its establishment can only strengthen rugby pathways for young players in the southern hemisphere. Exposure to additional international matches can only benefit the players in terms of experience and adapting to the demands of the top level of rugby.”
SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris said: “This is a vital step in the progression of young talent across our member unions as importantly it will provide extra development opportunities each year for players, coaches, team management and match officials, and will allow for better preparation into the World Rugby Championship.
“There is still some detail to put in place and we will announce this as we approach the kick-off of the inaugural tournament. The member unions are all committed to ensuring the U20 tournament is a best practice event that develops the young talent they have at their disposal.”