USA Men’s U20s fall to Canada 33-44 in first of Trophy Qualifiers

USA needs to score 12 more points than Canada in the finale to qualify for the World Rugby Trophy

SHAWNIGAN LAKE, B.C. - The USA Under-20s fell to Canada 33-44 in the opening match of their two-part World Rugby Trophy Qualifiers. Down on aggregate, the United States need to score 12 more points than their North American rivals to achieve qualification to the main tournament next month in Brazil. 

"I think we got better as the game progressed, we've only really had one session as an entire team and it showed especially in the first half. As the game progressed we started getting better, our patterns were better both on attack and defense; and I was pretty happy with that," said Head Coach Scott Bracken, noting the challenges the team faced heading into the match and their ability to overcome as time went on. 

"I like the trajectory we're on, we're going to take the next three days, we'll look at some film -- we'll work on this and we're going to be a lot better come Saturday." 

Canada U20s displayed a strong opening start where the United States was struggling with knock-ons and basic errors in ball handling.  The Canadians monopolized possession for the first twenty minutes, employing a keen sense of space to keep the ball alive through gaps and drive up a 20-0 score. 

Opportunity finally dipped in the U.S. favor in the 30th minute when Jack Manzo ripped away from a maul and leaped over the tryline to make it 7-20. Canada U20s answered back on the next play but the United States managed to edge the deficit again in the 40th minute when Ethan McVeigh caught the Canadians off guard on their own penalty, quickly tapped the ball and reached over the line to score, 14-25. 

The USA emerged on fire in the second half, scoring back-to-back tries to steal the lead and rip momentum from the opposing side. 

First Sam Golla made a line break to put the U.S. inside the Canadian half where a number of patient phases led to Sam Walsh getting over the line, 21-25. Mike Weir -- who was 4/5 on conversions through the game -- bullied his way through defenses on the very next play, pushing into the tryzone to make it 28-25 and stun audiences at Shawnigan Lake School. 

For a good twenty minutes, the United States had kept Canada U20s on their toes; but in the end, Canada cruised through a gap to score a pitch length try and recapture momentum for good. 

Following a string of messy knock ons and defensive errors, Canada U20s had made it up 28-44 with ten minutes to go. 

In the 77th minute, USA Captain Bailey Wilson caught hold of the ball, ran with force and swatted past defenders to make it 33-44. Scoring with energy, Wilson's try had snapped intense energy into the final minutes of the game which saw the North American rivals fight frivolously until the final whistle. 

In the 80th minute, the USA U20s made a line break and moved a convincing ten meters from the tryline. With fans convinced they'd score, Canada employed an impressive counter ruck at the goal line to steal the ball and kick to touch for the win. 

After a hotly contested matchup, the USA Men's U20s and Canada will next meet on Sat, June 8 to determine which team will advance to the World Rugby U20 Trophy next month in Brazil. The USA-Canada game is broadcast LIVE on facebook.com/RugbyCanada.

USA MEN'S U20s STARTING ROSTER

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONCLUB/COLLEGE
1. Jack WilesPropSt. Bonaventure University
2. Jack ManzoHookerUniversity of California, Berkeley
3. Jared MillerPropLife University
4. Sam GollaLockUniversity of California, Berkeley
5. Asa CarterLockArkansas State
6. Chase JonesFlankerSt. Mary's College of California
7. Miles McCormickFlankerOMBAC
8. Bailey Wilson (C)No 8Utah Valley University
9. Ethan McVeighScrumhalfCardiff Metropolitan University
10. Mike WeirFlyhalfDartmouth College
11. Junior WaqavesiWingUSA Sevens Residency Program
12. Lauina FalateaCenterUSA Sevens Residency Program
13. Jack WendlingCenterCentral Washington University
14. Ryan JamesWingSan Diego Legion
15. Sam WalshFullbackUniversity of California, Berkeley

USA MEN'S U20s RESERVES

PLAYERPOSITIONCLUB/SCHOOL
16. Braden LooperReserveUniversity of Arizona
17. Doug MitchellReserveCentral Washington University
18. Alex LopetiReserveLife West Gladiators
19. Matt GelhausReserveKutztown
20. Chris NoggleReserveSanta Barbara Academy
21. Jeff Peleseuma-BreizReserveSan Francisco Golden Gate
22. Cole SemuReserveBYU
23. Jasper GreenReserveDartmouth College
24. Will VakalahiReserveDC Old Glory
25. Luke FreemanReserveUniversity of California, Berkeley
26. Royce FisherReserveSanta Barbara Academy

USA MEN'S U20s STAFF

Head Coach | Scott Bracken
Assistant Coach, Attack | Brendan O’Meara
Assistant Coach, Defense | Michael Engelbrecht
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Liam Harnett
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Michael Smith
Athletic Trainer | Santiago Aquirre
Performance Analyst | Jake Sullivan
Operations Manager | Kevin McCorry

WORLD RUGBY TROPHY QUALIFIER SERIES

Streamed LIVE on Rugby Canada’s Facebook Page

Match One
33-44 (L)

Sat, June 8
vs Canada U20s
8 PM ET


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