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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

U.S. vs. Canada Again For JWRT Qualification

If the Junior All-Americans want to qualify for the Junior World Rugby Trophy next year they are going to have to go through Canada once again. With the announcement that the 2016 JWRT tournament will be held in Zimbabwe it means that only one team from North America will qualify, just like the 2015 version. Fans will remember that the U.S. only lost the first leg of their two match series against Canada earlier in the spring by a point but then went on to lose the second leg in a big way to miss out on qualification. The U.S. did identify and continue to develop a couple of players from the team, namely Hanco Germishuys and Louis Mulholland, but were disappointed not to make the JWRT.

After missing out on qualification last year the Junior All-Americans were combined with the College All-Americans in the Stars & Stripes assembly that culminated with a scrimmage. While it was beneficial for the program to have the assembly it still wasn't the same experience as playing against the rest of the world at the JWRT.

Take the jump to read more.
For most of the tournaments history the U.S. and Canada have both been able to make their way into the tournament either by being the host, winning the tournament to gain promotion from the Junior World Championship, or by being relegated from the JWC. However, with neither country set to host and neither winning recently the teams have been required to face off for one spot.

Teams already qualified for next year's tournament include hosts Zimbabwe, South American champion Uruguay, African qualifier Namibia, and JWC relegated side Samoa. Playoffs will be held for teams from North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

Steps already have been put in place to make this cycle's team more competitive. Scott Lawrence, who guided the team to a championship in 2012, is back at the helm. Several Junior All-Americans have also been getting some high level playing time, including at a recent 7s camp.

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