Wednesday, April 27, 2016

All-Americans Fall To Spain, Get Uruguay Next

The Junior All-Americans have missed out on a chance to play for the Junior World Rugby Trophy crown after falling to Spain 18-16 in their final pool play match. Heading into the match the All-Americans had a chance to finish first in the pool had they won. However, small errors throughout the match coupled with a very solid Spanish team were enough to undo the All-Americans. They will now play Uruguay on Sunday at 6:00 a.m. et/3:00 a.m. pt for 5th/6th place.

One thing the All-Americans had throughout the match was long spells of possession, including only meters from the line. The problem was that the Spanish defense was tight and the All-Americans lacked a go to player or move to help push them over. They did get help when Spain was issued a yellow card about ten minutes into the match but a knock-on allowed Spain to clear.

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Credit should go to the Spanish team. They were very clinical throughout the match, using their forwards to help spring their backs. They also were great at taking advantage of U.S. mistakes and were quick to turn it down the pitch. Arguably, like the U.S., Spain should have had multiple tries in the first half. It either came down to mistakes on their part, or good defensive players like center Brian Hannon saving a try by pulling a Spanish player into touch.

Eventually Spain would get their try. It came just as the U.S. looked like they were going to break through. The U.S. were knocking on the door but a knock-on was picked up by Spain. They made several breaks down the pitch before they went in for the quick try. With roughly 25 minutes played it was Spain 8-0. Both teams would make mistakes as the match would enter the break with Spain up by a try.

The U.S. found themselves in a deeper hole early int he second half when a series of pick and go's saw Spain cross over to lead 16-0. The Junior All-Americans would spend a long stretch trying to grab a try back. Unfortunately they had a difficult time breaking down Spain in the run of play. However, they were finally able to score when Hanco Germishuys scored to make it 16-8.

The Junior All-Americans continued to search for the equalizer but came up short. Spain made it even more difficult when with about four minutes to play they kicked a penalty to go up 18-8. Pushing hard at the end the Junior All-Americans did get a second try from Germishuys but time had expired with the team falling just short 18-16.

Overall, it has to a be a disappointing result for the team. They had the ability to beat Spain (and Namibia for that matter) but it was the small mistakes that continued to haunt them. That's what these tournaments are for so while it stinks that they weren't able to go further they still learned lessons.


  1. Very solid Spanish set pieces and good chop tackle defense. The game was on live on the rugby channel, shame it wasn't advertised a bit more. Excellent stream but no match commentary....

  2. More hand time will help out age grade teams develop. I hope the ARC develops a U20 tourney as well, similar to the age grade 6N tourney.

  3. Game* not hand. Stupid autocorrect.

  4. I am 100% convinced that if some serious money was pumped into the age grade programs and a bit more than lip service was paid to it by USA Rugby that the U20 Eagles could become a serious force in the JRWC as opposed to the current set up where the kids are thrown together at the last minute almost as an after thought and continue to make the sandwiches in the JWT. Expanding the base of elite domestic age grade competition would surely swell the numbers of home grown USA eligible players.