AIG MCAAs defeat New Zealand Universities 34-11

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans finished their New Zealand Tour with a dominant 34-11 win Saturday against New Zealand Universities, who narrowly won the first meeting between the two teams last Sunday 17-10.

“This was definitely our best performance of the tour and deserving of the victory,” Head Coach Matt Sherman said. “It was pleasing to see the team make significant improvements in the areas we set out to, particularly as it related to playing in the poor conditions.

“Our set pieces improved dramatically, we made better decisions with the ball in hand and were able to retain possession while also speeding up our ruck ball. Defensively, we were organized, committed and very physical.”

New Zealand Universities got on the board first with a penalty kick in the 15th minute, capitalizing on some early ill-disciplined defense by the MCAAs. Patrick Sullivan put the MCAAs in the lead in the 17th minute with a try, and captain Ryan Roundy and Kyle Sumison pressured the home side to give Joseph Cowley a chance to increase the lead with a penalty kick, which he converted.

A strong MCAA scrum in the dying seconds of the first half resulted in Roundy adding another try, with Cowley converting for a 15-3 halftime lead.

The MCAAs did not let up, as Daniel Barrett scored a try of his own in the 46th minute after sustained pressure inside the 10. Cowley converted again for the 22-3 lead. New Zealand Universities kicked another penalty in the 51st minute, but John Cullen broke a few tackles on a counterattack to dot down in the in-goal to put the MCAAs up 29-6.

Paris Hollis’ try in the 65th minute negated New Zealand Universities’ 75th minute try, and the MCAAs celebrated their first win of the tour.

“We learned from the first two games that a good performance wasn’t going to be enough to win down here,” Sherman said. “We had to dominate in most categories, minimize mistakes and capitalize on opportunities, and be fully committed in both effort and focus. I think we got that today throughout the entire team.

“In particular, I thought our forwards played very well and physical. Kyle Sumison, the man of the match, was a monster around the field for the second game in a row. The back row of Daniel Barrett and Ryan Roundy had a lot of impactful moments, second rowers John Cullen and Mike Lawrenson had a lot of strong carries and were physical in the rucks and tackles all game, and the front row had moments around the field and the at the edge of the scrum.”

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | vs. New Zealand Universities
1. Paris Hollis
2. Michael Shepherd (Maricelli @ 64)
3. Angus MacLellan (Parsons @ 64)
4. Michael Lawrenson (Badia-Bellinger @ 62)
5. John Cullen
6. Daniel Barrett
7. Kyle Sumison
8. Ryan Roundy (C) (Potgeiter @ 68)
9. Jacob McFadden (Pati @ 62)
10. Patrick Sullivan (Tomasin @ 61)
11. Jake Anderson
12. Michael Haley
13. JP Eloff
14. Madison Hughes (Tucker @ 59)
15. Joseph Cowley

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | Reserves
16. Glen Maricelli
17. Eric Parsons
18. Shaun Potgeiter
19. Jordan Badia-Bellinger
20. Randy Pati
21. Stephen Tomasin
22. Josh Tucker

New Zealand Universities
1. Morgan Poi
2. Ben Murtha
3. Zek Sopaga
4. Regan Hunt
5. Marcel Renata
6. Tom Hughes
7. Alex Wilson
8. Josh Dickson
9. Aaron McPhee
10. Jes Verstegen
11. Andrew Jones
12. Joel Duffy
13. George Vance
14. Jonathan Ruru
15. Clayton Stewart

New Zealand Universities | Reserves
16. Jake Holmes
17. Rob Sullivan
18. Sam McCahon
19. James Raea
20. Tim Smith
21. Jonte Lexmond
22. Broc Hooper

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | 34
Tries: Sullivan, Roundy, Barrett, Cullen, Hollis
Conversions: Cowley (3)
Penalties: Cowley