The tournament was won by France, who won its fourth European championship and its third in a row, with England finishing runners-up. The tournament marked forty years of international age grade rugby on the European continent, 1969 having been the year when the first European Under 19 competition was held.
It was sponsored by French company Justin Bridou and therefore officially called the 2009 Justin Bridou European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship.
The European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship was first held in 2004, in Treviso, Italy. It replaced the previously held European Under-18 Emergent Nations Championship, which had first been held in 2000. The first championship in 2004 was won by France.
The following two championships, held in Lille, France in 2005 and again in Treviso in 2006, were won by England. Alternating between France and Italy, the next three championships were held in Biarritz, Treviso again, and Toulon in 2009. All three were taken out by France, but of Europes top rugby playing nations, Wales and Scotland did not take part in the latest editions.
The championship, similar to previous editions, was organised in an A, B, C and D Division, with A being the highest and D the lowest. Each division consisted of eight teams and each team played three competition games, with a quarter final, semi final and final/placing game.
The quarter finals were played according to a seeding list, with the winners moving on to the first to fourth place semi finals while the losers would enter the fifth to eighth place semi finals.
The winners of the semi finals one to four would play in the division final while the losers would play for third place. Similarly, the winners of the fifth to eighth semi finals would play for fifth place while the losers would play for seventh.
The winner of the A division was crowned European champions while the eighth placed team would originally be relegated to the B division. Similarly, the winner of B, C and D division would move up a division for 2010 while the last placed teams would nominally be relegated. This meant, France was crowned European champions while Italy finished on the relegation spot, but was reprieved of relegation by England choosing not to participate in the 2010 tournament. Germany won the B division, Czech Republic the C division and Luxembourg the D. The last placed teams, for the same reason as Italy, were all spared relegation, too.
With a Côte d'Azur Selection, a non-national team took part to provide even numbers in all four divisions. With Armenia and Monaco, two teams took part that hadn't taken part in previous editions and would not do so again in 2010, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had played the previous two tournaments, did also not take part in 2010.
The teams of England, Italy and Ireland at the tournament were B selections, as these nations had committed themselves to an Under-18 Festival in Parma, Italy, where Wales and Scotland also took part. The French team however opted to take part in the European Championship instead.