Men's Junior All-Americans Defeat Canada U20s in World Rugby Trophy Qualifier Finale

USA launches dominant offense but falls short of qualification due to aggregate score

HOUSTON, TX. - The Men's Junior All-Americans defeated Canada's U20s in the finale of the World Rugby Trophy Qualifier today at Rice University's intramural fields. With a powerful 40-22 victory over the Canadians, the United States improved tremendously from their loss in Match One, but were unable to qualify for the international tournament due to a smaller cumulative score. Head Coach Scott Bracken and his team will now take the next several months to begin establishing a plan for the following year's qualification series, using the performance of this match as a launching point for consistency moving forward. 

After an initial 22-60 loss in Match One, the Men's Junior All-Americans came into this match with a relentless energy and a defensive wit that kept Canada's U20s on their toes throughout the match. Taking the first two tries of the game through Devin Short and Sam Walsh, the U.S. had built a 14-0 lead they maintained for the first 15 minutes of the game.

Canada's U20s continued to threaten, however, using the advantage on a penalty to launch a kick right through the posts and make it 14-3. The energy continued to build towards the end of the half, as the Canadians continued to moved into United States territory on several occasions, finally pushing a try over the line with five minutes to go, 14-10. 

By the half, the Men's Junior All-Americans held a one score leading knowing the atmosphere and intensity of the match was a short breath away from reaching its peak. 

When the second half began, Canada quickly claimed the lead with a one point advantage, making it 14-15 within a few minutes. The United States' Noah Niumataiwalu answered back  five minutes later, propelling the MJAAs to a 19-15 lead that was propelled even further by another score from Captain Ruben de Haas in the 19th minute. 

Canada's Elias Ergas would give his side one more try before all said and done, but the U.S. closed out the match with a relentless offensive and defensive response that held Canada's U20s out of the try zone for the rest of the game. 

Quinn Perry and Ronan Murphy each lunched five more points for the Men's Junior All-Americans, bringing the final score to 40-22 with the United States on top. 

Accurate kicking by Patrick Madden contributed five conversions to the overall score which showed impressive improvement from the first contest but wasn't enough to seal the qualification. Because of their higher aggregate score, the Canadians will take the berth to the World Rugby Trophy Qualifier. 

Though they didn't qualify for the international competition, the Men's Junior All-Americans made strides in their overall performance, proving their ability to adapt dynamically to heightened competition and remain resilient.

MEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN STARTERS | 2018 WORLD RUGBY TROPHY QUALIFIER | MATCH #2

PLAYERPOSITIONCLUB/SCHOOL
1. Payton IlalioPropSaint Mary's College
2. Dillon ShotwellHookerSam Houston State University
3. David AinuuPropToulouse Rugby 
4. Ronan MurphyLockSaint Mary's College
5. Bailey WilsonLockUtah United
6. Justin JohnsonFlankerLife University 
7. Devin ShortFlankerSan Diego Legion 
8. Santi MascoloNo. 8Iona College
9. Ruben de Haas (C)Scrum HalfFree State Cheetahs 
10. Sam WalshFly HalfScots College (NZ)
11. Noah NiumataiwaluWingSaint Joseph's University 
12. Quinn PerryCenterSanta Monica Rugby 
13. Jack WendlingCenterCentral Washington University 
14. Patrick MedinaWingAustin Blacks
15. Patrick MaddenFull back Cal Poly State University - San Louis Obispo 

MEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN RESERVES | 2018 WORLD RUGBY TROPHY QUALIFIER | MATCH #2

PLAYERPOSITIONCLUB/SCHOOL
16. Stephen McLeishReserveLindenwood University 
17. Jack WilesReserveSt. Bonaventure University
18. Daryl BagleyReserveAmerican International College
19. Will WaguespackReserveNOLA Gold Rugby 
20. Max DaceyReserveGlendale Raptors 
21. Ethan McVeighReserveOld Mission Beach Athletic Club - Wallabies 
22. Campbell JohnstoneReserveMount St. Mary's University 
23. Jack BradfieldReserve Cleveland Westside Rovers 

MEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN STAFF | 2018 WORLD RUGBY TROPHY QUALIFIER

POSITIONSTAFF
Head CoachScott Bracken
Assistant CoachMichael Engelbrecht
Assistant CoachBrendan O'Meara
Athletic TrainerCatherine Donahue
Team ManagerKevin McCorry 
Director of RugbyJD Stephenson 

MEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN SCHEDULE | WORLD RUGBY TROPHY QUALIFIERS

v. Canada U20s | 22-60 (L)

v. Canada U20s | 40-22 (W)