AIG MJAAs need win to stay in Junior World Championship

NANTES, France – USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American Head Coach Jason Kelly has chosen the starting roster for his team’s final match of the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France Sunday – the 11th Place Playoff against Fiji at Stade Pascal Laporte.

Tom Bliss once again captains the MJAAs, who have had a rough tournament, losing four matches by a combined score of 3-290. The MJAAs were drawn in the toughest pool of the Junior World Championship with reigning champions South Africa, hosts France, and this year’s finalists England.

The MJAAs earned a spot in the Junior World Championship after winning the 2012 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Should the MJAAs lose to Fiji Sunday, they will be relegated to the Junior World Rugby Trophy next year.

“It’s a must-win game for us,” Bliss said. “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.”

Men’s Eagles Sevens Residency player Mike Teo will start at center alongside Eakalafi Okusi, while Dylan Audsley, who kicked a penalty in the MJAAs’ 3-39 loss to Scotland Tuesday, will start at fullback.

“Our final is against Fiji, so it determines how we progress for the next year,” Kelly said. “It is pretty big.”

Follow updates from Nantes from 11:15 A.M. ET on Twitter @aarugby.

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | v. Fiji
1. Korbin Lindell
2. Cameron Falcon
3. Henry Hall
4. Teli Veamatahau
5. Brendan Hardiman
6. Alex Goff
7. Vili Toluta'u
8. Ross Deacon
9. Tom Bliss (C)
10. Conor Kearns
11. Lemoto Filikitonga
12. Eakalafi Okusi
13. Mike Teo
14. Gavin Brown
15. Dylan Audsley

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | Reserves
16. Casper Huizenga
17. Vei Tomasi
18. Solomone Anitema
19. Christian Ostberg
20. Zach Bonte
21. Alex Taefu
22. Cormac Murphy
23. Noah Tarrant