AIG MJAAs improve to 2-0 at IRB JWRT

HONG KONG, China - The USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans found a way to win Friday at Hong Kong Football Club Ground with a 13-12 defeat of Georgia in the second match of the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy.

The MJAAs and Georgia were both undefeated going into the second match in Pool A. Billy Millard's U20s beat Hong Kong Monday, while Georgia dispatched Tonga. The MJAAs now retain sole possession of first place in the pool and are one of two remaining unbeaten teams (Uruguay (1-1-0)) in the tournament.

Ben Cima could have gotten the MJAAs off on the right foot with two penalty kicks in the first five minutes, but both missed the target. Georgia's Revaz Jinchvelashvili slotted home his first penalty kick attempt in the 12th minute for a 3-0 lead.

An 18th-minute penalty eluded Cima again, but the flyhalf from Gonzaga College High School put six points on the scoreboard for the MJAAs with penalty kicks in the 20th and 29th minutes.

Jinchvelashvili tied the match in the dying seconds of the first half with his second penalty, sending the teams into the half at 6-6. The MJAAs only had an 8-0 lead in their first match and managed to win 37-0 Monday, but Georgia proved to be a much tougher opponent than Hong Kong.

Georgia regained the lead early in the second half with penalties from Jinchvelashvili in the 45th and 48th minutes.

Down 12-6 with 10 minutes remaining, Hanco Germishuys scored the match's first try to set up Cima with a conversion attempt that would see the MJAAs take a lead. Cima's kick went through the uprights for a 13-12 scoreline and the MJAAs held off Georgia in the final minutes to remain undefeated.

"We still have much to work on, but the effort of these boys tonight was very special," Millard said after the win.

"We did very well to grind it out. The players knew they had to match the Georgian physicality and they did that. Our scrum was outstanding with new prop Benjamin Tarr doing a huge job at tighthead and senior Eagle Titi Lamositele adding strength.

"Ben Cima did a great job helping us play field position and our breakdown improved significantly from game one."

The MJAAs will finish pool play against Tonga Tuesday, April 15, at 3:00 A.M. ET. Tonga is 1-0-1 in Hong Kong with the first loss against Georgia and a 39-16 win against the host Friday. A win against Tonga would guarantee the MJAAs' spot in the JWRT Final Saturday, April 19.

USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | v Georgia

1. Titi Lamositele

2. Codi Jones

3. Benjamin Tarr

4. Christian Wiessing

5. Oliver Drew (C)

6. Ben Pinkelman

7. Hanco Germishuys

8. Vili Toluta'u

9. Mike Reid

10. Ben Cima

11. James Vaifale

12. Gabe Farley

13. Nemia Qoro

14. Scott Dean

15. Niall Barry

USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | Reserves

16. Marshall Godfrey (@ 59')

17. Peter Malcolm

18. Tyler Enfield (@ 67')

19. Zach Bonte (@ 26')

20. Erik Thompson (@ 53')

21. David Todd

22. Seth Halliman

USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | 13

Tries: Germishuys

Conversions: Cima

Penalties: Cima (2)

Georgia | Roster

1. Zauri Kharebava

2. Badri Alkhazashvili

3. Giorgi Margveliani

4. Parnavaz Gasviani

5. Beso Barbakadze

6. Saba Shubitidze (C)

7. Badri Dangadze

8. Vakhtang Amiranashvili

9. Revazi Brodzeli

10. Revaz Jinchvelashvili

11. Shalva Shashiashvili

12. Giorgi Talakhadze

13. Giorgi Pruidze

14. Murazi Giorgadze

15. Davit Gulitashvili

Georgia | Reserves

16. Giorgi Toradze

17. Beka Kakabadze

18. Davit Papavadze

19. Zhora Mgebrishvili

20. Teimurazi Tutberidze

21. Giorgi Babunashvili

22. Devi Devsurashvili

Georgia | 12

Tries: None

Conversions: None

Penalties: Jinchvelashvili (4)

USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy

v Tonga - Tuesday, April 15 - 3:00 A.M. ET