Men's U20 vs. Russia Preview
The U.S.A. Men's U20's squad is looking to bounce back from a tough 48-11 loss to Samoa on Tuesday with a win against Russia Saturday in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy. The Russian's are coming off a 33-5 loss of their own to Uruguay, thus both teams are looking for crucial wins. If the young American's can earn a victory over the Russian team, they will set themselves up for a chance to play into the third place game with a win over Uruguay.
But, they cannot overlook their determined Russian opponent; and considering the fact that the American team is new to playing in international events, as well as new to playing together, it doesn't seem likely that they will be overlooking any team they play.
Head Coach Scott Lawrence feels that experience is huge for U20 success, "This is the first international tournament this team has been in. The fix is experience, and we're one game better for it," Lawrence said in an interview with RugbyMag.com's Alex Goff.
In their first match against a very big and physical Samoan team, flyhalf and captain, Will Magie, notched a drop kick and penalty kick to earn six points for the U.S. Magie also placed a beautiful grubber in the back left corner for winger, Madison Hughes, to jump on for the lone U.S. try.
In order to win, the U.S. is going to need to get the whole team involved, as well as play much more physical rugby. Lawrence is likely to make some performance-based changes to the lineup based on the match against Samoa.
This past week has brought about significant political unrest in Tbilisi, Georgia. The U20's had political demonstrations in front of their hotel in recent days, so it is safe to say the tournament has been quite the experience for these young men up to this point.
With all the extra commotion going on, the match on Saturday will be a test of focus and determination for the young American's looking to make their mark in the international rugby community.
The match can be viewed streaming live at http://www.irb.com/jwc/index.html.