AIG MCAAs give Wairarapa Bush tough test in New Zealand

MASTERTON, New Zealand – The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans continued their New Zealand Tour Wednesday with a 23-30 loss to Heartland Championship club Wairarapa Bush.

Jake Anderson missed a penalty kick in the second minute and Wairarapa Bush punished the MCAAs a few minutes later by taking a scrum 10 meters out and taking it over the line for a 5-0 lead.

The MCAAs received another blow in the 19th minute when a Wairarapa Bush line break through the middle resulted in a 50-meter try and a 12-0 lead. On the play, Colton Cariaga broke his arm making a tackle. He will be out of action for the remainder of the tour.

Wairarapa Bush scored another try in the 29th minute from a counter attack and took advantage of a MCAA penalty in the 37th minute to add another. Anderson converted a penalty kick before the break to put the MCAAs on the board at 3-24.

“We did some good things in the first half,” MCAA Head Coach Matt Sherman said. “In general I thought possession, territory and opportunities were relatively equal in the first stanza, we just weren’t able to finish while they were.”

Kyle Sumison gave the MCAAs a perfect start to the second half with a try in the 43rd minute and Anderson kicked another penalty in the 48th minute to make the score 13-24. Anderson missed a 40-meter penalty kick in the 55th minute but made up for it in the 65th minute with a successful kick after a great kick and chase play between Paris Hollis and Josh Tucker.

In the 73rd minute, John Cullen scored a try for the resurgent MCAAs and Anderson added the conversion to draw within one point at 23-24. Penalty trouble in the final few minutes killed the MCAA momentum, as Wairarapa Bush kicked two penalties and wound down the clock to defeat the MCAAs.

“While we came up short at the end, I’m proud of the guys and how well they came together and battled back against a tough opponent when things weren’t going our way,” Sherman said. “We need to take that cultural identity of being a mentally-tough team into our final game with New Zealand Universities, and we feel that if we do that, along with improving in some targeted performance areas, we can earn a tough victory over a good side on New Zealand soil.

“We’re excited about that challenging opportunity.”

The MCAAs finish their New Zealand Tour with a rematch against New Zealand Universities Saturday. Follow updates on Twitter @aarugby.

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | vs. Wairarapa Bush
1. Paris Hollis (Maricelli @ 67)
2. Gabriel Sochanek (Shepherd @ 46)
3. Eric Parsons (MacLellan @ 62)
4. Benjamin Landry (Barrett @ 35)
5. John Cullen
6. Kyle Sumison
7. Jordan Badia-Bellinger
8. Shaun Potgieter (Roundy @ 52)
9. Randy Pati (McFadden @ 58)
10. Colton Cariaga (Eloff @ 27)
11. Timothy Maupin (Mizell @ 60)
12. Michael Haley
13. Stephen Tomasin
14. Josh Tucker
15. Jake Anderson

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | Reserves
16. Glen Maricelli
17. Michael Shepherd
18. Angus MacLellan
19. Daniel Barrett
20. Ryan Roundy
21. Jacob McFadden
22. JP Eloff
23. Zachary Mizell

AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | 23
Tries: Sumison, Cullen
Conversions: Anderson (2)
Penalties: Anderson (3)