JWRT – Day – 1 all the build up, all the action.
Our time together so far as a squad has been fantastic. Lots of hard work by both players and staff, was rewarded by Monday’s defeat of Tonga in this year’s Junior World Rugby Trophy.
Based on the JWRT form books and World rankings our opening victory was not easily predicted but rugby does not always follow the form books. Going into the tournament much was made of the improvements all sides had made since the last tournament.
There may still be a distance between the Top Tier and emerging rugby nations but the Junior World Rugby Trophy showed in its first day that the desire to win is the same whatever level of the game you compete at.
JWRT – The Build Up
It was only really when we arrived in Salt Lake City for the JWRT, visited Murray Park and saw the other teams arrive that it finally hit home for some of the players just what they were about to undertake. On home soil, with friends and family supporting the team expectations were high. The morning of the game arrived and it was clear no one wanted to disappoint.
I remember as a player, the waiting was always the hardest part. When the training is over and game day comes all you want to do is get on the field. I’ve coached the Wilson High School Belmont Varsity sides and Belmont Shore’s Senior Mens teams in Championship finals and the nervous energy you feel or the frustration at how slowly time is passing is just the same whether you stand on the touchline or get on the field to play.
JWRT U20s USA Rugby Team v Tonga
1) Travis Whitlock
2) Cameron Falcon
3) Angus Maclellan
4) Nick Barrett
5) Pierce Dargan
6) Glen Thommes
7) Alex Goff
8) Tim O’Hara
9) Alex Taefu
10) Will Magie (Capt)
11) Noah Tarrant
12) Tua Laei
13) Tanner Barnes
14) Kingsley McGowan
15) Madison Hughes
16) Casper Huizenga
17) Henry Hall
18) Teli Veamatahau
19) Aladdin Schinmer
20) Nick Boyer
21) Iniki Fa’amausilli
22) Pasefika Iosia
JWRT Match Report
In previous JWRT articles I’ve shown you the level of effort that the team, both players and coaches have put in to the build up for the JWRT tournament . All that hard work was on display on the field and so was the steel and determination to win that teams need to grind out a result. These men have heart. They fought for every opportunity and each other and that’s something you can’t fake or create.
[vsw id=”WuwgmG-w0JU” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
Match report from JWRT coverage at IRB.com
The United States stunned Tonga in the final game of the Junior World Rugby Trophy’s first day running out 22-11 winners. Second-half tries by Madison Hughes and Cameron Falcon propelled the Eagles over a Tongan side that received most of the support from a filled-to-capacity crowd at Murray Rugby Park.
The top-seeded Tongans took an 11-6 lead, their biggest of the match, shortly after half-time when Alifeleti Atiola scored a try. The No. 8 finished off an impressive, quick attack up the middle. Tonga kept on the offensive, nearly scoring on Siale Talakai’s right-side run. That was the high tide for Tonga as things unravelled after that.
Viliami Fatafehi, Taniela Vakauta and Michael Faleafa all received disciplinary cards in the second half. Faleafa’s was the most serious, earning himself a straight red for his part of a fracas between the two teams.
The Americans converted the ensuing penalty attempt just after the hour mark to give them a 12-11 lead, their first since early in the first half.
With a two-man advantage and the wind at their backs, the Eagles kept attacking in waves.
Full-back Hughes took the ball himself in for a try in the 75th minute, but missed the conversion to give the United States a six-point lead. Eight minutes later, hooker Falcon scored the clinching try just two minutes before full time.
In the first half, the Eagles opened the scoring just after the quarter hour mark, as Hughes converted his first penalty kick attempt. Twelve minutes earlier Tonga had a similar penalty try only to have it harmlessly bounce off the right post.
For the next 20 minutes, the two teams battled back and forth in the middle of the field. The United States used mostly driving runs while the Tongans employed a stellar kicking game to gain territory.
Each team picked up yellow cards — Tonga’s Faleafa for diving at the pile and the US’s Tim O’Hara for dangerous tackle — in the defensive first half.
The Tongan fly half Sione Makaafi converted after O’Hara’s card as he split the uprights to tie the game at 3-3 in the 38th minute.
Tonga quickly took the lead after converting another penalty from midfield just a minute later. On the last kick of the half, Hughes tied the game 6-6 on a short penalty try. But the real drama was to come in the second half.
JWRT match report
JWRT Results from Day 1
JWRT Pool A
Chile 53-19 Russia
USA 22-11 Tonga
JWRT Pool B
Japan 39-36 Zimbabwe
Georgia 31-17 Canada
In my Standing on the Shoulders of Giants post on the eve of the match I reflected on the teams responsibility to inspire those who watched to fall in love with rugby. Based on the reaction to their win from across the social media platforms and from around the world they achieved their goal. Here is just a small selection of the reaction on Twitter.
Oh yes… JWRT #GameFace
Not everyone is supportive.
You can prepare & focus as hard as you like but life is about balance so every team must find its ways to relax. For the USA Rugby Coaches at JWRT ‘relaxing’ is growing out facial hair into an array of moustaches and beards. This could be viewed by some as a bonding ritual but really we are too busy to shave and its a bit of fun!
Even our players have joined in.
JWRT – One Game at a Time
In a tournament setting, it’s important to learn from your last result, good or bad, and keep looking to the next game.
Our next JWRT opponent is Chile. The South Americans are a powerful, physical side who come into the tournament off the back of a rare win against rivals Argentina who are currently competing in the Junior World Championship. They enjoyed an opening victory in the JWRT against Russia by a good margin. The match promises to be a tough encounter, no doubt about that, but we will prepare onfield and off.
We will build towards that JWRT game by video analysing our performance and studying that of the Chile team. Strengths and weaknesses will be addressed as we develop the physical, technical and mental elements of our game.
There is always work to do and this team – players and coaches – are giving everything to get a result this Friday.
JWRT Day 2: Friday 22 June 2012
12:00 Georgia v Zimbabwe
14:00 Japan v Canada
16:00 Tonga v Russia
18:00 USA v Chile
JWRT Day 3: Tuesday 26 June 2012
12:00 Canada v Zimbabwe
14:00 Japan v Georgia
16:00 Tonga v Chile
18:00 USA v Russia
JWRT Day 4: Saturday 30 June 2012
7th Place Play-off = 12:00 4th Pool A v 4th Pool B
5th Place Play-off = 14:00 3rd Pool A v 3rd Pool B
3rd Place Play-off = 16:00 2nd Pool A v 2nd Pool B
Final = 18:00 1st Pool A v 1st Pool B
JWRT watch rugby online
Check out the LineoutCoach Guide to the Junior World Rugby Tournament
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland A & 7s, 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