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RAN U19s Latest

Trinidad & Tobago won big and Mexico escaped in a tight one in Day Two action at the Rugby Americas North U19 Championships.

On Saturday, USA Rugby South won in convincing fashion 46-0 over Jamaica, and Bermuda edged Cayman Islands 15-10. Sunday, Trinidad & Tobago won 41-0 over Turks & Caicos. That left Mexico to face USA Rugby South 2. This supposedly less experienced team managed to hand with the 2015 champs Mexico all the way through.

Mexico scored in the 10th minute to take a 7-0 lead. The South kicked into the Mexico 22 and chased and looked to put Mexico under all sorts of pressure. But fullback Rodrigo Gonzalez got the ball, stayed on his feet, and got out of a cuple of tackles to run up the middle and set up his wing for a coast-to-coast try.

The South kept up pressure for much of the first half but struggled to finish. Finally, the South worked from a scrum and sent their forwards bashing ahead, with hooker Isaac Bales making some big runs. Finally center Doug Vawter slipped away from a tackle and raced in under the posts to tie the game 7-7.

A penalty on a high tackle gave a kicking opportunity for scrumhalf and captain Tom Stockton, and he sent the kick through the posts for the 10-7 lead. But just before halftime, Mexico replied, sending the ball nicely through the hands to score in the corner. Another long counterattack from Gonzalez set up a try on the wing for Mexico. The ball hit the ground during that passing sequence, but the referee deemed the ball to have gone backward, and Mexico led 17-10.

The South kept trying to break through but struggled to do so. Only at the end of the game could they find the tryline. With only a couple of minutes to go they got runs from Vawter, flyhalf Fred Purdy, prop Doug Price, and prop Noah Meneses to make it to the Mexico 22. On a tap penalty move Meneses almost made it to the line and was fortunate not to be called for a knock-on. Stockton was there to pick up the ball and score in the corner. 

That made it 17-15, but the scrumhalf's touchline conversion attempt was wide. Mexico kicked off, defended for several phases, and finally forced the South into a knock-on to end the game.

Mexico will take on Trinidad & Tobago in the semis, while USA South 1 will play  Bermudain the other semi. Those games will be played on July 18 and July 19. Jamaica plays Cayman Islands and USA South 2 plays Turks & Caicos in the consolation semis.