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HSAA Team Edged by Spain

National Teams

HSAA Team Edged by Spain

Spain edged the HS All Americans 26-22 in the teams' 2nd gam at the European U18 Championships Tuesday.

The game, played in Quimper, France, was the consolation semis. The USA will now play for 7th.

Spain took an early 3-0 on a penalty goal, but HSAA replied in the 8th minute, when flanker Chris Noggle intercepted a pass and took off into Spanish territory. He linked up with lock Garrett Kay. The Jesuit (Sacramento) captain is normally a flanker and he showed a flanker's pace in galloping to the corner.

The USA team then ran through a long period of phases, testing the Spain defense. A few surges to the line, and prop David Ainuu picked up and was unstoppable from short range. The conversion was missed, and the HSAA team led 10-3 at 20 minutes. A not-releasing-the-ball penalty gave Spain an easy chance for three points to make it 10-6. 

There then followed a frustrating sequence for the HSAA team. They got a penalty from which they took a lineout five meters from the Spanish line. The maul was stopped but Spain was in from the side. The Americans could have taken a quick tap, but opted for another lineout. This time Spain killed the ball in the ruck, got a talking-to, but no yellow card from referee Nika Amashukeli. The HSAA team took another lineout, but that throw was not straight and Spain got out of it. The Americans had another five-meter lineout moments later, but the timing between the jumpr, lifters, and thrower was just a little off and the ball was recovered by Spain.

It looked as if the HS All Americans would come out of the half with only the two tries. But just before halftime scrumhalf Conor McManus cut through a tiny gap and grubbered ahead. He kicked the ball into-in-goal one more time, but before he could touch it down he was shoved into the posts by a Spanish defender. Penalty try. However, Quinn Perry missed the conversion in front of the posts, and the score remained 15-6. 

The referee said there was more time on the clock and Spain took advantage, pressing down to the HSAA line. The Americans got the ball back, but Perry was pulled into touch as he tried to run out of danger. Still, the HSAA team won the lineout, and was set to kick free. McManus fired a very hard pass to Perry, who saw it bounce off his hands. As a Spanish player came in to try to score a try, Perry knocked the ball dead with his hand. That's a penalty, and a penalty try. Perry argued the ball was knocked dead by Spain, but to no avail. Shocked, the Americans saw Spain convert the try and instead of leading 15-6 at halftime, it was only 15-13.

Another penalty put Spain ahead about ten minutes into the first half, and then six minutes later it was 19-15 for Spain. After absorbing some Spanish pressure, the USA team got out of trouble and after some tough work by the forwards, captain and No. 8 Bailey Wilson took a wide, flat pass and stretched over for the try. McManus converted and the HS All Americans ld 22-19. 

But pressure and territory by the HSAA team yielded no further points. Finally, the HSAA defense, which had been solid all day, broke. Spain ran one of their big forwards up the middle, and the American tacklers just fell off him. Try under the posts, and a 26-22 Spain lead. 

And that's how it ended. The HSAA team got some rough calls as crucial moments, with the penalty try for Spain being one that at least required some consultation with the assistant referees. But in the end, the HSAA team had only themselves to blame. They had ample opportunities to get points, but made errors of execution, needed to nail down their defense late, and will rue the fact that Spain's goalkicking was far more successful.

Also on Tuesday, France beat Portugal 47-0 to make the final, where they will play Georgia, which beat Japan 42-17. Japan will play Portugal for 4th. Belgium beat Canada 18-0 and will play Spain for 5th. The USA and Canada will play each other for 7th. All of those games are slated for Sunday, April 16


HSAA lineup 

1. TOM WAGHORNE (Katy, Texas)

2. GABRIEL MAHUINGA (Herriman, Utah)

3. DAVID AINUU (Liberty, Wash.)

4. GARRETT KAY (Jesuit, Calif.)

5. ASA CARTER (Union, Okla.)

6. MATTHEW MEEHAN (East Cobb, Ga.)

7. CHRISTOPHER NOGGLE (Stingrays, Calif.)

8. BAILEY WILSON (C) (United, Utah)

9. CONOR McMANUS (Fort Hunt, Va.)

10. QUINN PERRY (Santa Monica, Calif.)

11. KYLE Van TONDER (Rocky Mountain, Idaho)

12. MATEO GADSDEN (Back Bay, Calif.)

13. JACK WENDLING (Chuckanut, Wash.)

14. CHRISTIAN NEWBY (Chapel Hill, NC)

15. ERIC NAPOSKI-ABDULLAH (Fairfield Pegasi, Conn.)


16. XAVIER DOERING (St. Thomas Aquinas, Kans.)

17. JACK MANZO (Xavier HS, NY)


19. DANIEL CROWLEY (Santa Monica, Calif.)

20. JAKE BURNS (Chuckanut, Wash.)

21. ETHAN McVEIGH (St. Augustine, Calif.)

22. MICHAEL JENNINGS (Staples HS, Conn.)

23. RYAN JAMES (Cathedral Catholic, Calif.)

24. JUSTIN PETERSEN (La Costa Canyon, Calif.)