AIG MJAAs 0-2 at Junior World Championship with defeat to hosts

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, France – The IRB Junior World Championship has not been kind to the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans, who qualified for the tournament by winning the IRB Junior World Trophy in Salt Lake City last year. The MJAAs followed their 0-97 defeat to reigning champion South Africa in the opening match with a 45-3 loss Sunday to France, tournament host.

"Disappointed with the result, and with our performance,” Head Coach Jason Kelly said. “We couldn't really hold much position today, which killed us. We were playing a lot of defence. I’m disappointed, but we will get better. We worked on a few things from the first day, and I am pretty happy with the stuff we tried to improve on."

The U20 tournament features the best rugby nations in the world, and the MJAAs have figured it out early in Pool A, where they must still face England. Liam Bourke scored the first and only points of the tournament so far for the MJAAs, kicking a penalty in the 25th minute.

Though the score was 3-10 at the time, France kept the MJAAs scoreless for the rest of the match and added five more converted tries before the final whistle.

"We wanted to make a bit of an improvement from last match against South Africa and I feel like we did that today,” captain Tom Bliss said. “A few knock-ons and bad decisions didn't help us in the game, which is a shame. We put our heart and soul into that game and gave it everything, but unfortunately it didn't come true. But we will build from this game and take things from this into our match with England and our last two matches."

Despite the loss, the MJAAs can take heart from an improved performance after a discouraging defeat last Wednesday to South Africa. England awaits Thursday, June 13, at the Stade Henri Desgrange. Watch the match live on the IRB Junior World Championship website and follow @aarugby on Twitter for match updates.

Universal Sports has added all USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American matches and the Final for the IRB Junior World Championship to its list of rugby programming in June. The schedule includes both live streaming of the matches on, as well as broadcast same-day-delay of the match on Universal Sports’ cable channel.

Thursday, June 13
England vs. MJAAs
Kickoff – 12:45 P.M. ET
Broadcast time – 9:00 P.M. ET

Sunday, June 23
Kickoff – 12:45 P.M. ET
Broadcast time – 9:00 P.M. ET