It will be contested between Tonga and Fiji later this month.
The Cook Islands were originally tapped to host the tournament after successfully hosting the Tahitian team back in August. The event was to have been held at the National Stadium in Rarotonga.
However, a mutually acceptable decision was reached between the Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) and Oceania Rugby (OR) to move the tournament to Lautoka, due to recent participation and commercial requirements.
OR president Richard Sapias acknowledged the difference in costs was a critical factor in the decision.
“Oceania Rugby is committed to seeing the hosting of and ability to participate in international competitions reach across our member unions,” he said.
“However, financial considerations to both Oceania Rugby and our member unions are a reality.”
CIRU president Moana Moeka’a added that it was disappointing not to participate in this tournament.
“Whilst the Cook Islands is disappointed to not be hosting the 2017 Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy Tournament we are committed to increasing our participation in regional tournaments and look forward to hosting another tournament when the time is right,” Moeka’a said.
“Given the delay in being to confirm teams choosing a major hub of the pacific like Fiji to host the tournament is understandable.”
Fiji failed to gain promotion to the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship following their third place finish at the recent 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy in Uruguay.
This means that either Fiji or Tonga will be joining Samoa at the 2018 Trophy tournament.
- OR/ CL