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Canada U19s Down USA U19s in Game 1

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Canada U19s Down USA U19s in Game 1

Canada's U19s defeated the USA U19s 29-22 Friday in the first of two games between the two teams in Chula Vista, Calif.

The Canadian team started much the stronger, holding sway in set piece, especially the scrum, and taking a 22-0 lead at the break. Some personnel and tactical changes for the USA team at halftime produced a better second half for the hosts, and tries from center Tavite Lopeti, wing Ben Broselle, lock Nafi Maafu, and No. 8 and captain Bailey Wilson, along with one conversion from scrumhalf Ruben de Haas, made the game much closer. Canada did get the one try in the second half to hold on 29-22.

For Head Coach JD Stephenson, who had earlier praised the USA players for getting down to business and working hard on and off the field, the game was a learning experience for all.

"We'll take away a lot from this," said the coach. "We needed to trust what we've set forth more, and we did that in the second half. We made a few personnel changes, and certainly some guys made an impact coming off the bench, but really it was more about settling down and getting back to how we can play. We started clicking after that."

Canada was stronger in set piece, but even that advantage started to fritter away in the second period.

Stephenson said after an initial rough start as some players got used to the physicality and speed of the game, the USA kids showed they can hold their own, and will look at Monday's rematch as a chance to build on that second half.

USA U19 lineup is here.