Saturday, June 16, 2018

All-Americans Beat Canada But Still Lose Series

The Junior All-Americans did their best to dig themselves out of the big hole they put themselves in following leg one of their Junior World Rugby Trophy qualifying series against Canada but even with a 40-22 win in leg two it wasn't enough as they lost the series 82-62. Canada won the first leg 60-22. It's the second year in a row that the U.S. has failed to qualify for the JWRT and the third in the last four years. This year's tournament was to be held in Romania. Since 2014 the U.S. will have only played in two JWRT's. The made the 2014 tournament after being relegated from the 2013 World Junior Championships which they gained promotion to by winning the 2012 JWRT in Salt Lake. That team was stacked with talent including Madison Hughes, Mike Te'o, and Will Magie.

The bottom line is that when it comes to having to qualify for the tournament the U.S. has had very limited success. There are a lot of reasons for this. One, the JWRT schedule hasn't always been favorable to the U.S. as it has come during the college season. Two, players still have to pay to participate. This year they were expected to pay (either on their own or through fundraising) out $1,000 to participate. Identification has been held during the winter break the last several years but there hasn't been a consistent coach and the current approach obviously isn't working.

Take the jump to read more.
While Canada is struggling at the national team level (they lost to Russia today) they have consistently been able to get the better of the United States. Some of that comes from their concentration of players into major centers either in British Columbia, Toronto, the Calgary-Edmonton area, or sometimes in places like Newfoundland. Geography is a puzzle the U.S. still has to solve.

We've proposed our solution to the problem although that still comes with a lot of problems. Right now what we currently have isn't working and needs a solution before more youth miss out on a great opportunity. Maybe it's skipping the JWRT altogether and finding the funding to have U-20 teams from other countries come to the U.S. for a mini-tournament?

Starters for match two:

Forwards: Payton Ilalio, Dillon Shotwell, David Ainuu, Ronan Murphy, Bailey Wilson, Justin Johnson, Devin Short, Santi Mascolo

Backs: Ruben de Haas (C), Sam Walsh, Noah Niumataiwalu, Quinn Perry, Jack Wendling, Patrick Medina, Patrick Madden

Bench: Stephen McLeish, Jack Wiles, Daryl Bagley, Will Maguespack, Max Dacey, Ethan McVeigh, Campbell Johnstone, Jack Bradfield

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