The USA Junior All Americans came back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat the Canada U20s and secure a sweep of their two-game trip to British Columbia.
The Junior All Americans (aka the USA U20s) edged Canada 27-22 on Wednesday. On Saturday, they looked to be overwhelmed as the Canadians ran in three early tries.
But the tourists did not give up. Lock Pierce Dargan, who plays at Trinity College in Dublin. Capped off a more encouraging attack to make it 21-7 with Madison Hughes’s conversion. Then just before halftime wing Noah Tarrant raced in to make it 21-14.
The Americans seemed to be on the front foot, and looked to press their advantage in the second half. When they did, Canadian referee David Smortchevsky found himself continually warning Canada for their negative tactics in the ruck. That would come to bite them later.
Early in the second half Tarrant, one of the few high schoolers on the team, scored his second. Hughes then added a penalty to put his side in front for the first time.
The Canadians stormed back. They were held up in-goal, but their consistent pressure and a few USA penalties eventually resulted in a try for Mike Fuilefau. That made it 28-22 Canada.
The Americans replied instantly. They did well to claim the restart, pounded the Canada line with some big runs from No. 8 Alex Goff, and eventually sent hooker Cameron Falcon over. That made it 28-27. But the bad news was inside center Kinglsey McGowan had to leave the field with a leg injury. The Junior All Americans would have to complete the comeback without one of their most dangerous attackers.
This they did. Canada was hit with two yellow cards in quick succession. And up two men, the USA scored through Dargan to claim the lead. Hughes his the conversion to put the score was USA U20s 34, Canada U20s 28.
Somehow, it stayed that way. Canada had several excellent scoring chances, and the USA seemed to do one thing or other to put themselves at risk. But ultimately the USA tackling just did the job.
Near the end of the match a turnover allowed scrumhalf Alex Taefu to zip down the sideline. He could have kicked to the corner, or passed outside to his support. Instead, somewhat of two minds, Taefu send a loose pass that led to a turnover, and one more Canadian chance. The Americans did just enough, though, and when they got a penalty in their half, they were told it was the last play, and dutifully kicked the ball into touch.
So not a perfect display – Head Coach Scott Lawrence will not be pleased with how loose the Americans were with the ball late. But tenacity and some adventure can take you a long way, and the USA U20s have beaten Canada twice on Canadian soil.
USA U20s (Junior All Americans) 34
Tries: Dargan 2, Tarrant 2, Falcon
Convs: Hughes 3
Canada U20s 28
Tries: Stones, Ferguson, Hart, Fuilefau
Convs: McCaan 4
Junior All-Americans Lineup
15 Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)
14 Pasefika Iosia (Belmont Shore)
13 So’e Tatafu (Snake River)
12 Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s College – California)
11 Noah Tarrant (Oceanside Hurricanes)
10 Will Magie* (Leeds University)
9 Alex Taefu (Tempe)
1 Vei Tomasi (Oakland Warthogs)
2 Cameron Falcon (Louisiana State)
3 Angus MacClellan (Davenport University)
4 Nick Barrett (Spearhead Academy)
5 Pierce Dargan (Trinity College – Dublin)
6 Tim O’Hara (Santa Clara)
7 Teli Veamatahau (Spearhead Academy)
8 Alex Goff (Arkansas State)
Casper Huizenga (Kutztown)
Khrys Speed (Bedford Academy)
Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington)
Brendan Hardiman (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Nick Boyer (Cal)
Sione Letoi (Tempe)
Tanner Barnes (Central Washington)
Travis Whitlock (Back Bay)
Canada U20s Lineup
1. Noah Barker - Vancouver Rowers (Courtenay, B.C)
2. Casey Reed -Moosejaw Nads (Airdrie, AB)
3. Jake Ilnicki (Capt.) - Uvic Vikes/ Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
4. Jacob Rumball - Balmy Beach Rugby Club (Toronto ON)
5. Andrew McGinn – JBAA (Victoria, BC)
6. Matthew Heaton - St-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Godmanchester, QC)
7. Chase Kelliher - Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
8. Cam Stones – Ajax Wanderers (Witby, ON)
9. Andrew Ferguson - Oakville Crusaders (Mississauga ON)
10. Conor McCann – Balmy Beach RFC (Toronto, ON)
11. Josh Hart - Cowichan RFC (Minitonas, MB)
12. Clayton Meeres - Abbotsford RFU (Chilliwack BC)
13. Michael Fuilefau (UVIC Vikes) (Victoria, BC)
14. Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
15. Patrick Kay (UVIC Vikes) (Duncan, BC)
16. Eric Selvaggi - Aurura Barbarians (Woodbridge, ON)
17. Alex Marshall -Vandals RFC/The Rock (St. John's, NL)
18. Ryan Monahan (Baymen Rugby Club, The Rock) (CBS, NL
19. Fuku Vikilani - Burnaby Lake Club (Vancouver, BC)
20. Mike Dalsin – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
21. Doug Crowe – Rowing Club (Courtenay, BC)
22. Caleb Hanson – Rowing Club (Courtenay, BC)