HSAAs win scrimmage in preparation for Wellington Festival

“This returning core of players are helping provide the leadership and example on and off the field."

UPDATE April 5: Despite a valiant performance, the USA Rugby Boys' High School All-Americans U17s lost to England South Friday 32-25 at the RFU Wellington College International Rugby Festival. Salty Thompson's team gave up an early try but managed to keep up with their opponent in the first half, only down 20-15 after the first frame. As the HSAAs were making a comeback in the second half, England South took advantage of a HSAA player in the sin bin and extended the lead to 32-18. The HSAAs scored another try a few minutes later, but ultimately ran out of time.

UPDATE April 2: The USA Rugby Boys' High School All-Americans U17s lost to Wales U16 45-16 on Saturday, March 30, before defeating Belgium 21-10 on Monday, April 1. The HSAAs had lost to Belgium in their previous two meetings. Up next for the HSAAs is England South on Friday, April 5.

CROWTHORNE, England -- The USA Rugby Boys’ High School All-Americans under 17s have gathered at Wellington College, ready to compete in the RFU Wellington College International Rugby Festival, which features U16 National Teams from Wales, Scotland, England North, England South, and U17s from Belgium, the Netherlands and the USA. All teams are in residence at the exclusive private school in Berkshire, an hour west of London.

The HSAA Junior Varsity starts the tournament Saturday, March 30, against the rugby powerhouse nation of Wales (4.00pm kick-off). This is followed with games against Belgium Monday, April 1, and England South Friday, April 5.

All-Americans Head Coach Salty Thompson will be looking to build on the reputation and performances they produced last year, giving the Welsh a hard game and running England North extremely close. This year promises much of the same if the games live up to their potential.

The HSAA squad totals thirty-one players, born in 1996 and 1997, with nine sophomores, twenty juniors, and two seniors. Seven players return from last year’s U17s, namely Bruce Yun (Wilson H.S. and Belmont Shore) at prop, Malcolm May (Ignatius H.S. Chicago) at lock, Hanco Germishuys (Westside H.S. Omaha, Nebraska) at flanker, ‘Junior’ Helu (Hayward Griffins) at scrum-half, Cian Barry (Epsom College) at fly-half and full-back; Sione Masoe (Back Bay) at flanker, and Brendan Cleary, (Queen Elizabeth School and Newcastle Falcons Academy) at outside center.

“This returning core of players are helping provide the leadership and example on and off the field,” said Thompson. “They are fitter, stronger and bigger than last year.”

The HSAAs, sponsored by Aircraft Charter Solutions, arrived on Sunday and played a scrimmage game against Hampshire U17s Wednesday afternoon. Early exchanges saw the USA dominate the first half and jump to a 26-point lead, with two tries from Poch Suwaiter (Hilo, Hawaii) and one from Mosoe. Ben Cima (Gonzaga H.S. Washington D.C.) added one conversion and three penalties to the score. The second half started off in much the same vain with the USA stretching their lead with a try from the increasingly impressive Yun. Barry added the conversion.

For three quarters of the match, the HSAAs dominated, but as the USA started to ring the changes in the line up they lost momentum and Hampshire launched an impressive fight-back, running in four unanswered converted tries before Barry added a penalty goal to close out the game at 36 to 33.

The game was exactly what the USA needed in preparation for the festival, which will be a great chance for the young Americans to experience an international competition and square off with some of the rising stars in Europe. Gaining match experience and training in a high performance environment is a key objective in the development of the HSAAs and in the development of the future national teams.

The HSAA Coaching and Management team is committed to the off-field development as much the on-field development of the young men on the team, recognizing that the tournament will be an experience the players will never forget and hopes the athletes will take away great rugby and life lessons from the tournament.

Follow Team Manager Andy Byrne on Twitter (@AndyPByrne) for live updates from Wellington.

Boys' High School All-Americans | RFU Wellington College International Rugby Festival

Name Year Height Weight Club High School
Lopeti Aisea Sophomore 6'0" 259 Lincoln Cardinal Lincoln
Cameron Appel Junior 5'7" 161 Guildford Royal Grammar
Cian Barry Junior 5'6" 135 Reeds Weybridge Epsom College
Steven Branham Sophomore 5'11" 202 Fallbrook Fallbrook
Benjamin Cima Junior 5'11" 167 Gonzaga Gonzaga
Brendan Cleary Junior 5'9" 160 Newcastle Falcons Queen Elizabeth
Hanco Germishuys Junior 5'11" 195 Westside High School Westside
Zach Haley Sophomore 5'11" 195 Hopkins Royals Hopkins
Ryan Hedum Junior 5'11" 210 Christian Brothers Christian Brothers
Travis Heer Sophomore 6'0" 190 Back Bay Huntington Beach
Aluana Helu Junior 5'11" 215 Hayward Griffens James Logan
Brock Johnson Junior 6'1" 180 Renegades Willowbrook
Sione Masoe Junior 5'11" 170 Back Bay Garden Grove
Aaron Matthews Sophomore 5'8" 170 Back Bay J Sierra Catholic
Malcolm May Senior 6'1" 195 Ignatius Ignatius
Aaron Mitchell Junior 6'1" 259 Cathedral, San Diego Cathedral
Brendan Murphy Junior 6'2" 190 Kona Bulls Makua Lani Christian
Brian Nault Sophomore 6'2" 210 Sheldon Savages Sheldon
Darien Pickett Junior 5'10" 225 Fort Hunt West Potomac
Suwaiter Poch Junior 6'0" 220 Hilo Reign Waiakea High School
Torran Raby Sophomore 6'1" 270 Mustangs Torrey Pines
Maxime Remesy Senior 6'3" 225 Orlando Dr. Phillips
Cecil Rich Junior 6'1" 260 Pride Perry Street Prep
Ian Richards Junior 5'10" 220 Penn HS Penn HS
Jimmy Ronan Junior 5'7" 151 Gonzaga Gonzaga
Patrick Soede Junior 5'11" 189 Cobham American School Cobham
Joeli Tikoisuva Junior 5'10" 175 Sacramento Islanders Rosemont
Jerome Veve Sophomore 6'0" 211 Gold Coast Titans Palm Beach Currumbin
Nolan Williams Junior 5'9" 165 Dixon Rugby Dixon
Bruce Yun Junior 5'10" 268 Belmont Shore Wilson HS
Cian Wynne Sophomore 6'2" 182 Wallingford Cherwell