The Irish Exiles edged the USA U20s 18-15 Wednesday evening in a Junior World Trophy warmup for the Americans in Ealing, West London.
The Americans certainly could have won the game, but were also trying to get as many players on the field as possible. Head Coach Scott Lawrence planned ahead of time to run on six subs at halftime, and in the end that led to two very different halves of rugby.
The Exiles looked strong early on and more organized in an aggressive encounter, but could not score. Then the Junior All Americans broke through. Leeds University flyhalf Will Magie fed speedy win Madison Hughes (another UK-based American college kid), and Hughes turned on the jets to score in the corner.
Later Hughes returned the favor, drawing his man and putting Magie away. Magie then scored a third try – all unconverted – to make it 15-0. The Exiles got three back before halftime and trailed 15-3.
In the second half, the Exiles, which featured several Irish U18 and U19 internationals, regrouped and scored 15 points to take the lead - a try from a rolling maul and twice through the backs. The USA U20s had two shots at goal to tie it up, but missed.
Still, despite the disappointing end to the game, the Americans drew many compliments from their opponents – especially for the play of Magie, Hughes, No. 8 Tavake Sanft, flanker Alec Getzler and wing Apelu So’oalo.
Part of a large crowd at the game was Al Caravelli and the USA 7s team, in town for the London 7s this weekend.
USA Junior All-Americans Squad
1 Charles Koehler (Univ. Wisconsin - Whitewater), 2 Patrick Latu (San Francisco Golden Gate), 3 Paul Mullen (Houston Area Rugby Club), 4 Daniel Metcalf (Penn State), 5 Patrick Coleman (Cal), 6 Alec Gletzer (Univ. Calif - Santa Barbara), 7 Michael Juszczak (Univ. of Utah), 8 Tavake Sanft (Spearhead Academy), 9 Michael Oliver (Loughborough Univ.), 10 Will Magie (Leeds Univ.), 11 Madison Hughes (Wellington College), 12 Bubba Jones (St. Marys College), 13 William Farrell (Univ. of Georgia), 14 Apelu So'oalo (At Large), 15 Joe Cowley (Life)
16 Andrew Ohmann, 17 Oliva Auimatagi (Old Mission Bay Athletic Club), 18 Eric Rygiel (Arizona State University), 19 Timothy O’Hara (Santa Clara University), 20 Tyler Black (Colorado Springs), 21 Sean Carley (St. Mary’s College), 22 Paris Hollis (Life University), 23 Michael Durant (New York Athletic Club), 24 Connor Mills (Texas A&M), 25 Jake Fallon (Grand Rapids Gazelles), 26 Adam Sandstrom (Arizona State University)
EXILES Squad L. Padian, L. Murphy-Wooldridge, J. McWilliams-Gray, J. Caulfield , T. Crozier, C. O’Connell, J. Hogg, M. Jones, C. Burke, C. Joyce, A. Richardson, P S Safi, W. Brown, K. Marmion, A. O’Meara, C. Ryan, L. Marmion, N. Brown, R. Day, T. Chellew, W. McTigue, J . Beckett, L. O’Keefe & D. Panter