Women’s Junior All-Americans Fall to Canada U20s in Tri-Nations Cup Opener

USA unable to capitalize on opportunities due to sharp Canadian defense

WOLFVILLE, N.S. - The Women's Junior All-Americans have conceded their first match of the U20 Women's Tri-Nations Cup 36-12 to Canada's U20s. Despite a hard-fought effort, defensive miscues and challenges at the set piece proved costly, allowing the Canadians to run away with six tries en route to victory at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. 

The beginning of the match was tightly-contested, however, with Head Coach James English noting his side's performance in the first half. 

The United States brought defensive pressure early on, with two Canadian knock-ons providing the USA with opportunities. The All-Americans suffered a costly penalty of their own soon after, giving the Canadians a lineout dangerously close to the try line that saw their side move up 5-0 within the first 10 minutes. 

Canadian mistakes ensued, with tackling penalties and more knock-ons giving the Women's Junior All-Americans a multitude of set pieces to capitalize on. Then, a rhythm of pick and go offloads across the USA forward pack allowed Alexandria Sedrick to dot down and tie it up, 5-5. 

A penalty for not releasing gave possession back to Canada minutes later, where a lineout 10 meters from the try zone allowed Sophie de Goede to score her first of four for the opposition, 12-5. Goede followed with another try soon after, helping her side dominate the set piece action. 

With the Canadians holding the better side of the 17-5 score, the United States was determined to make a showing before halftime. Finau Tamaivena made a huge break up the middle but a forward pass gave the ball right back to Canada. Another breakaway by McKenna Strong was turned over at the breakdown and the U.S. was unable to answer back before the half. 

Canada's Madison Gold opened the second half with another try, bringing the score to 22-5 as tensions continued to rise. USA's Tiana A'au was sent to the sin bin shortly after, allowing the Canadians to dance away with a fourth try for Sophie Goede and a first for Tausani Levale to make it 36-5. 

USA's Emily Henrich capped the high scoring affair with a try of her own, converted by Natalie Gray,  to bring the All-Americans up 36-12, but a strong defensive front from Canada halted a comeback in the remaining minutes of the game. 

A big offload from Finau Tamaivena to Mata Hingano allowed Hingano to make a convincing breakaway but Canada was relentless at winning the turnover. With moments left to go, the United States took one last lineout just outside their attacking 22 but were unable to do anything with it. Time expired and the Canadians had clinched the 36-12 win in Nova Scotia. 

Though it was a difficult first match for the Women's Junior All-Americans, strengths in the first half -- and  towards the final moments of the game -- showed the squad's capability of challenging their opposition. With a week to rest, recover and train, the United States has every intention of bringing a strong fight to England's U20s next week in their second and final game of the U20 Women's Tri-Nations Cup. 

The match will kickoff on Tuesday, August 14 at 5:30 PM ET with updates available by following @USARugby on Twitter.

WOMEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS ROSTER | vs CANADA U20S | TRI-NATIONS CUP 

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1. A'au, TiaraCentral Washington University
2. Arena, DestinyLindenwood University
3. Tuilaepa, PeninaLindenwood University
4. Strong, MckennaLindenwood University
5. Gray, NatalieLindenwood University
6. Thunen, LaurenUniversity of California Santa Barbara
7. Freeman, MorganFt. Miami Rugby
8. Tamaivena, FinauSeattle Saracens
9. Ortiz, OliviaDavenport University
10. Canett, Kayla (VC)Penn State University
11. Sedrick, AlexandriaLife University
12. Henrich, EmilyOrchard Park Rugby (HS)
13. Hingano, Mata (C)Utah Valley University
14. A'au, SuiluanaCentral Washington University
15. Bargell, CassidySummit Rugby (HS)
16. Fromstein, ElishaPenn State University
17. Manu, IsabelLindenwood University
18. Jones, ToriUniversity of Notre Dame
19. Tancredi, SamanthaNorth Bay Rugby (HS)
20. Matina, AniyaProvo Steelers (HS)
21. Wilson, ElizabethNorthern Virginia Rugby (NOVA)
22. Pasioles, Mary JaneCentral Washington University
23. Cervinski, SydneeLife University

WOMEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS U20 WOMEN'S TRI-NATIONS CUP STAFF

WJAA Head Coach - James English
Coach - Rob Cain (Head Coach of Women's 15s National Team)
Coach - Kate Daley
Strength & Conditioning Coach - Ian Jones
Athletic Trainer - Katherine Henry
Team Manager - Kirstin Maurer
Pathway Manager - Anna Kunkel

WOMEN'S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS U20 TRI-NATIONS CUP SCHEDULE

vs Canada U20s | 36-12 (L)

vs England U20s
Tue, August 14 - 5:30 PM ET
Acadia University