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USA To Maccabiah Semis

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USA To Maccabiah Semis

Eagles Zack Test (with flag) and Kevin Swiryn (at right) get opening ceremonies honors at the Maccabiah Games.

The USA Maccabia team is into the semifinals of the Maccabiah Games Men's 15s rugby tournament after sweeping their two pool games.

The Maccabiah Games are basically the Jewish Olympics. Held every four years in Israel, the Games bring Jewish athletes together from around the world to compete in a variety of sports for their country. Several prominent American athletes had their first taste of international competition at the Maccabiah Games.

The USA has won the relatively new 7s tournament before, but struggled this year. However, in 15s, things have been a little better.

In the 7s event, the USA lost 17-12 to Australia and 24-10 to South Africa (in what was clearly the tougher pool). That put them at 0-2 and set the USA team up for a 5th/6th playoff against France. Head Coach Shawn Lipman and coaches Zack Test (who carried the USA flag at the opening ceremonies), Kevin Swiryn, and Pete Sickel opted to shift some things around for that game, and one of the big changes they made was to install Chase Schor-Haskin, still a teenager, in as captain for that final game. Schor-Haskin was outstanding, and the USA won 35-0 over France to take 5th.

South Africa went on to win Gold, Israel Silver, and Argentina Bronze.

 

Now the 15s tournament is on and the USA started off with two victories. Chance Doyle scored two tries and converted one, while Ben Hirschman, Joseph Krassenstein, and Spencer Sarver all touched down against Australia. Michael Rudzinsky added one conversion to cap a nice 29-11 victory for the USA.

In the next game, hooker Aaron Blatt showed some leadership and provided a nice second-half impact as the USA defeated Israel 22-15.

That clinched a place in the semifinals for the USA. On Thursday, the USA will take on Argentina and Israel plays South Africa in the semis.

 

 

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