SHAWNIGAN LAKE, BC – The USA Junior All-Americans took out Canada today in the opening match of a two match series between the two North American rivals. A 27-22 score line saw the USA claw back after a seven point halftime deficit.
The JAAs will take on Canada again on Saturday May 26 in Langford, B.C. in the final warm up match before the Junior World Rugby Trophy kicks off on June 18 in Salt Lake City. Saturday's game will be webcast live at sportscanada.tv.
Despite a fairly high penalty count, Kingsley McGowan scored a hat trick against Canada and played a huge role in the win. The JAAs dominated possession and the forwards gave plenty of go forward ball to help release the lethal backs.
A slow start for the USA allowed Canada to jump out to an early lead, scoring a converted try and penalty before the JAAs got on the board. Despite the USA being deep in the Canadian half for much of the first 40, the All-Americans weren’t able to convert territory into points.
McGowan touched down in the corner in the 19th minute to put his team on the board. A few attacking opportunities went begging for the JAAs and Canada notched another score just before halftime to leave the scores at 8-15 Canada. Just before the half, the referee sent Tim O’Hara off for ten minutes for killing the ball, leaving the JAAs seven points behind and a man down.
Cameron Falcon, the big front rower from Louisiana State, barreled over for a score to start the second half and got the JAAs off on the right foot. McGowan was lethal at inside center and scored another great try from short range and Madison Hughes converted to put the USA up 20-15. The home team wasn’t going without a fight, however. Canada got another converted try, but a gritty performance from the All-Americans allowed McGowan to get another five pointer late to go ahead.
McGowan turned a gap into a gaping hole before Canada had time to respond to get his hat trick. The speed merchant almost had a fourth score as well, but was dragged down five meters out from the try line.
The Junior All-Americans closed the first game out, but the Canadians will get a second shot at the Americans on Saturday May 26 in Langford, B.C.
"We got what we wanted out of the game – the guys as players were tested, and we as coaches now have a better idea of which positions will be up for grabs for Salt Lake City," said Canada coach Mike Shelley said. "This match was all about playing for places at the Junior World Rugby Trophy, and a number of players really put their hand up for a place in the starting fifteen."
Among them he singled out Markham Irish's West, whose scintillating run opened the game's scoring. "Jon did exceptionally well for us at full-back, and there were other players who did a lot of really good things out there as some areas, such as the scrum, worked really well for us," he said. However, despite the performance by the forwards in the tight, Shelley identified areas of work at the set piece. "The line-out didn't function as we'd hoped, that was disappointing," he said.
It wasn't the only thing which left both coaches and players frustrated. "It really wasn't the result we wanted or hoped for," Shelley said. "The lead changed hands a couple of times in the last 20 minutes and in the end we came out on the wrong end of a one-score game."
USA Rugby Junior All-Americans 27
Tries: McGowan (3), Falcon
Cons: Hughes (2)
Tries: West, Va'a, Fuailefau
USA Rugby Junior All-Americans Lines
15 Zach Siemens (Spearhead Academy)
14 Iniki Fa’amausili (Glendale Raptors)
13 Tanner Barnes (Central Washington)
12 Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s College)
11 Pasefika Iosia (Belmont Shore)
10 Will Magie (Capt.) (Leeds University)
9 Nick Boyer (Cal)
1 Travis Whitlock (Back Bay)
2 Mike Teo (Belmont Shore)
3 Manu Maola (Titans – Hawaii)
4 Pierce Dargan (Trinity College – Dublin)
5 Dan Metcalf (Penn State)
6 Glen Thommes (Delaware)
7 Ekapatelisio Veamatahau (Spearhead Academy)
8 Tim O’Hara (Santa Clara)
Cameron Falcon (Louisiana State)
Vei Tomasi (Oakland Warthogs)
Brendan Hardiman (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington)
Alex Taefu (Tempe)
So’e Tatafu (Snake River)
Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)
Khrys Speed (Bedford Academy)
Head Coach Scott Lawrence
Canada U20s Lineup
1. Alex Marshall -Vandals RFC/The Rock (St. John's, NL)
2. Kurt Gibbons - Markham Irish (Markham, ON)
3. Jake Ilnicki (c) - UVic Vikes/ Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
4. Ryan Monahan - Baymen Rugby Club, The Rock (CBS, NL)
5. Lukas Balkovec – Uvic Vikes/ Waterloo County (Kitchener ON)
6. Jared Douglas - Abbotsford RFC (Vancouver, BC)
7. Fuku Vikilani - Burnaby Lake Club (Vancouver, BC)
8. Tua Va'a - Velox RFC (Victoria, BC)
9. Lucien Nel–UVic Vikes (Prince George, BC)
10. Douglas Crow – Rowing Club (Courtenay, BC)
11. Tomas Costanzo - St Ann de belle (Montreal QB)
12. Gradyn Bowd – Rowing Club, Red Deer Titans (Red Deer, AB)
13.Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
14. Luc Pearson - Lindsay R.F.C (Lindsay, ON)
15. Jon West - Markham Irish RFC (Scarborough, ON)
16. Eric Selvaggi - Aurura Barbarians (Woodbridge, ON)
17. Noah Barker - Vancouver Rowers ( Courtenay, B.C)
18. Luke Campbell – UVIC (Victoria, BC)
19. Cam Stones – Ajax Wanderers (Whitby, ON)
20. Caleb Hansen – Rowing Club (Courtenay, BC)
21 Michael Fuailefau -UVIC Vikes (Victoria, BC)
22. Conor McCann - Ontario Blues (Toronto, ON)
Head Coach - Mike Shelley
Manager - Des Lynch