Saturday, August 6, 2016

College All-Americans Beat Darling Downs

The College All-Americans opened up their tour of Australia with a 31-17 win over Darling Downs in Toowoomba. Overall the CAAs played a solid match getting good contributions from Nick Boyer, Conor Kearns, Aladdin Schirmer, and Malon Al-Jiboori.

Despite some early good play from the College All-Americans it turned against them as the Darling Downs fly-half Andrew Turner picked off a pass to go in for the score. With the conversion the College All-Americans were down 7-0 early. The Darling Downs soon added to that as they found space on the wing for a second try, this time from Nick Poole. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 12-0.

Credit to the All-Americans as they responded right away. They nearly put Aladdin Schirmer through only to see it knocked on. That initial surge didn't work but they soon found the score. Off a quick tap Boyer offloaded to a supporting Mason Pedersen for the score. Kearns would add the conversion to make it 12-7.

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The match was free flowing through with each team playing expansive rugby. With better fitness levels than their counterparts that eventually played into the hands of the Americans. That and the increased defensive effort. The Australians were physical early with a few big tackles but that was matched and then surpassed by the All-Americans.

The second try for the All-Americans was scored by Deion Mikesell. Darling Downs found themselves all out of sorts and it was a good run from Wes Hartmann that sorted the gap before passing out wide to Mikesell. The conversion was off leveling the score at 12-12. Mikesell soon had another after Boyer broke through but it was knocked on. Still, they put pressure on their opponents and when they earned a scrum of their own Vili Helu simply broke off for the score.

Sensing that the game was slipping away from them the Darling Downs attempted to get under the skin of the All-Americans with some shoving and handbags. From it all it was Mikesell that was shown a yellow card. The Darling downs also had a player sent to the bin. The All-Americans added a final try when Kearns put in a great cross field kick to Tua Laei. Laei then did well get to the ball closer to the posts allowing Kearns to hit the conversion. At the half the U.S. led 24-12.

In the second half the All-Americans began to assert themselves even more, especially at the scrum. However, like in the first half a loose ball was scooped up by the Darling Downs as they raced the other end for the score. 24-17 with roughly 30 minutes to go. Still, the U.S. had most of the chances and deservedly grabbed the final score through Calvin Whiting.

In the end the All-Americans showed much better strength, skill, and rugby IQ than their counterparts. Despite the early couple of tries it was a solid showing for team and it continued to show the evolution of the age-grade programs.

Next up is the Brothers in Brisbane on August 10th.

Forwards: Chance Wenglewski, Chad Gough, Mason Pedersen, Malon Al-Jiboori, Matt Jensen, Wes Hartmann, Aladdin Schirmer, Vili Helu

Backs: Nick Boyer, Conor Kearns, Deion Mikesell, Cody Melphy, Bryce Campell, Vetekina Malafu, Tui Laei

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