USA Rugby Junior All-Americans took out Canada today in the opening match of a two match series between the two North American rivals. A 27-22 score line saw the USA claw back after a seven point halftime deficit.
The USA Rugby JAAs will take on Canada again on Saturday May 26 in Langford, B.C. in the final warm up match before the Junior World Rugby Trophy kicks off on June 18 in Salt Lake City. Saturday’s game will be webcast live at sportscanada.tv.
Despite a fairly high penalty count, USA Rugby’s Kingsley McGowan scored a hat trick against Canada and played a huge role in the win. The JAAs dominated possession and the forwards gave plenty of go forward ball to help release the lethal backs.
A slow start for the USA allowed Canada to jump out to an early lead, scoring a converted try and penalty before the JAAs got on the board. Despite USA Rugby being deep in the Canadian half for much of the first 40, the All-Americans weren’t able to convert territory into points.
McGowan touched down in the corner in the 19th minute to put USA Rugby on the board. A few attacking opportunities went begging for the JAAs and Canada notched another score just before halftime to leave the scores at 8-15 Canada. Just before the half, the referee sent Tim O’Hara off for ten minutes for killing the ball, leaving the JAAs seven points behind and a man down.
USA Rugby Cameron Falcon, the big front rower from Louisiana State, barreled over for a score to start the second half and got the JAAs off on the right foot. McGowan was lethal at inside center and scored another great try from short range and Madison Hughes converted to put the USA Rugby up 20-15. The home team wasn’t going without a fight, however. Canada got another converted try, but a gritty performance from the All-Americans allowed McGowan to get another five pointer late to go ahead.
McGowan turned a gap into a gaping hole before Canada had time to respond to get his hat trick. The speed merchant almost had a fourth score as well, but was dragged down five meters out from the try line.
The Junior All-Americans closed the first game out, but the Canadians will get a second shot at the Americans on Saturday May 26 in Langford, B.C.
USA Rugby Junior All-Americans 27
Tries: McGowan (3), Falcon
Cons: Hughes (2)
USA Rugby Pre-match team news:
Leeds University’s Will Magie will lead the USA out of the tunnel as captain, just as he did in the Junior World Rugby Trophy last year in Georgia. Magie’s boot will serve the JAAs well and he has the ability to ignite a potent back line.
Kingsley McGowan, the St. Mary’s College standout, will take up position in the midfield having played a majority of the D1A season at fullback. His outside center will be Tanner Barnes from Central Washington.
The USA Rugby back three are dangerous as well. Iniki Fa’amausili, Zach Siemens, and Pasefika Iosia all have the capability to break off devastating runs and provide a constant outside threat.
The USA Rugby forward pack is powerful and mobile and the tight five has a great deal of experience that will allow for a steady set piece.
USA Rugby Junior All-Americans v. Canada U20s| May 23, 2012 | Shawnigan Lake, BC
15 Zach Siemens (Spearhead Academy)
14 Iniki Fa’amausili (Glendale Raptors)
13 Tanner Barnes (Central Washington)
12 Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s College)
11 Pasefika Iosia (Belmont Shore)
10 Will Magie* (Leeds University)
9 Nick Boyer (Cal)
1 Travis Whitlock (Back Bay)
2 Mike Teo (Belmont Shore)
3 Manu Maola (Titans – Hawaii)
4 Pierce Dargan (Trinity College – Dublin)
5 Dan Metcalf (Penn State)
6 Glen Thommes (Delaware)
7 Ekapatelisio Veamatahau (Spearhead Academy)
8 Tim O’Hara (Santa Clara)
Cameron Falcon (Louisiana State)
Vei Tomasi (Oakland Warthogs)
Brendan Hardiman (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington)
Alex Taefu (Tempe)
So’e Tatafu (Snake River)
Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)
Khrys Speed (Bedford Academy)
USA Rugby Press Release 23 May 2012
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com #busy