JWRT Hosts win Pool A and reach the final
After playing each of our pool opponents, we find ourselves in the Junior World Trophy Championship game. In 3 days time, this fantastic tournament will be over and either ourselves or Japan will be crowned Champions. This will be Japan’s third successive year in the final of this competition and our second time. USA U20’s reached the final of the 2009 JWRT final but were beaten by Romania. The competition has grown over the years and the standard of rugby increasing dramatically. Next year will see Italy partake in the tournament, meaning the competition will continue to become tougher and tougher.
There is more than just the title at stake on Saturday. Whoever wins between us and Japan will be promoted to the Junior World Championship. This is the premier U20’s international rugby tournament. South Africa were recently crowned Champions of the JWC after they beat New Zealand 22 -16. The baby Boks won the tournament on home soil in front of a record 30,000 rugby fans. There is no doubt that age grade rugby is hugely popular and very exciting.
USA U20’s Head Coach, Scott Lawrence will ensure that no stone remains unturned in our quest to continue our rugby development. USA, undeniably has the athletes to ensure that rugby blossoms in this sleeping giant.
Our journey continues…
JWRT: USA Rugby Junior All-Americans vs. Russia
15 Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)
14 Pasefika Iosia (Belmont Shore)
13 Tanner Barnes (Central Washington)
12 Eakalafi Okusi (Cal)
11 Iniki Fa’amausili (Glendale Raptors)
10 Will Magie (Leeds University)
9 Nick Boyer (Cal)
1 Vei Tomasi (Oakland Warthog)
2 Mike Te’o (Belmont Shore)
3 Angus MacLellan (Davenport)
4 Teli Veamatahau (Metropolis)
5 Nick Barrett (Minnesota State)
6 Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington)
7 Glen Thommes (Delaware)
8 Tim O’Hara (Santa Clara)
16 Henry Hall (University of Auckland)
17 Casper Huizenga (Kutztown)
18 Cameron Falcon (Louisiana State)
19 Pierce Dargan (Trinity College – Dublin)
20 Alex Taefu (Tempe)
21 Sione Letoi (Tempe)
22 Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s College of California)
The USA Junior All-Americans scored five tries against Russia to win 36-13, but it was after their fourth score that they were assured a spot in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy final thanks to a bonus point that put them out of reach of all of their Pool A opponents.
The win puts USA in the JWRT final against Japan on Saturday June 30. That game kicks off at 6 p.m. MDT and will be webcast live on KSL.com and DeseretNews.com.
Hooker Mike Te’o led the way scoring two tries and the other three scores came from workhorse outside center Tanner Barnes, scrumhalf Nick Boyer, and second rower Nick Barrett.
Given the somewhat experimental lineup, the chemistry eventually seeped in and saw the JAAs hit their stride.
Captain Will Magie responded appropriately to the pressure being asserted by the Russians in the first half, increasing his involvement and barking at his team to kick into gear. By the 55th minute, they had certainly done that.
“All the guys that came in did really well, obviously there will be a few rusty combinations but I think we weathered that in the middle period,” Magie said after the win.
The defensive effort of Glendale winger Iniki Fa’amausili helped keep Russia in check and was able to halt a number of dangerous looking Russian attacks.
Offloads in contact and a sense of urgency that built as the game wore on helped the USA steadily build their lead.
The confidence in attack increased and Veli Teamatahau, Glen Thommes, and Te’o had moments of brilliance that led to points. All three of those players are forwards whose physicality also wore on the Russians.
On Te’o, Magie praised the 5’7”, 215 lbs. hooker’s effort and gave him some good-natured ribbing in the process.
“He’s been itching to get some tries,” Magie said of Te’o. “Mike’s a great runner in open play and he still thinks he’s a back. He keeps harping on whether he can get in on the wing. He had a great game today and obviously his lineout throwing was superb as well.”
As for the opposition in the JWRT final game, Magie plans to focus more on what his side is capable of instead of what Japan might do.
“Japan looks good. Technically they’re really good. We’re going to watch them see their strengths, but we’ll focus on our strengths and what we can do,” Magie said.
The game on Saturday will mark Japan’s third consecutive appearance in the JWRT final, losing last year to Samoa. The winner will elevate to compete in the IRB Junior World Championship in 2013.
USA Rugby Press Release
Tries: Boyer, Te’o (2), Barnes, Barrett
Conversions: Hughes (4)
JWRT USA Rugby Reactions
JWRT brings the hunger!
Reaction to the USA All-American victory across the Twitterverse
Canada 66 – 45 Zimbabwe
Japan 36 – 29 Georgia
Tonga 41 – 14 Chile
USA 36 – 13 Russia
Saturday 30 June 2012
7th Place JWRT Play-off = 12:00 Russia v Zimbabwe
5th Place JWRT Play-off = 14:00 Chile v Canada
3rd Place JWRT Play-off = 16:00 Tonga v Georgia
JWRT Final = 18:00 USA v Japan
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