AIG MJAAs into 11th Place Playoff after loss to Scotland

NANTES, France – Scotland defeated the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans 39-3 in the IRB Junior World Championship Ninth Place Semifinal Tuesday at Stade Pascal Laporte, sending the MJAAs to a must-win 11th Place Playoff against Fiji June 23.

“The score doesn’t reflect how close the game was,” MJAA Head Coach Jason Kelley said. “It is the nature of the game. We thought we had a shot today so we are a little disappointed. We have to make improvements, but we will break the film down and get better over the next few days. Our final is against Fiji, so it determines how we progress for the next year; it is pretty big.”

If the MJAAs lose the Playoff against Fiji, who lost to Samoa in the other Ninth Place Semifinal, they will be relegated to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy. The MJAAs won the 2012 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City for inclusion in the Junior World Championship this year.

The MJAAs put in an improved performance against Scotland following three deflating losses to South Africa, France and England in the pool stage, but Scotland came away with the victory. Scotland captain Mark Bennett scored 22 of his side’s 39 points, while Dylan Audsley scored the MJAAs’ only penalty kick.

“It is a must-win game for us,” MJAA captain Tom Bliss said of the upcoming playoff against Fiji. “It defines our tournament. It is important for us and we will do all we can to prep for that game. It is a bit of a step up from the JWRT which the lads did fantastically well to win, but I am proud of the lads and how they have done here.”

Follow the MJAAs in France on Twitter @aarugby as they take on Fiji Sunday, June 23, at 11:15 A.M. ET.

USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | vs. Scotland
1. Christopher Banks
2. Cameron Falcon
3. Henry Hall
4. Teli Veamatahau
5. Christian Ostberg
6. Zach Bonte
7. Vili Toluta'u
8. Alex Goff
9. Tom Bliss (C)
10. Conor Kearns
11. Lemoto Filikitonga
12. Jared Stewart
13. Eakalafi Okusi
14. Gavin Brown
15. Dylan Audsley

USA Rugby Men's Junior All-Americans | Reserves
16. Casper Huizenga
17. Vei Tomasi
18. Solomone Anitema
19. Brendan Hardiman
20. Ross Deacon
21. Alex Taefu
22. Cormac Murphy
23. Noah Tarrant