USA U19s Beat Canada
USA U19s Beat Canada
The USA U19s exacted revenge for their December 30 loss to Canada's U19s with a 27-19 victory Monday at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Both teams fielded somewhat changed lineups between the two games, and used extended benches - expanding the number of players used to 26. Having been hit hard and fast by the Canadians in last week's game, the American team was determined not to be caught napping this week. The USA tight five put in yeoman's work in battling in the mauls and the breakdown, and that was certainly the difference early.
"The guys fronted up and were really effective in the maul - something we identified in the Junior World Trophy from last year as something teams utilized," said Head Coach JD Stephenson. "That they did so well is credit to coaches Rob Randall and Shawn Pittman. Attacking and defensive mauls were solid."
The USA team got an early try from vice captain and scrumhalf Ruben de Haas, and then sent wing Ben Broselle over. Canada got a try from Logan Martin-Feek to make it 10-7 for the USA team. Then, with time winding down in the first half, the Americans put on a period of concerted pressure. The Canadians infringed a couple of times, and finally referee Lex Weiner saw a cynical foul in the breakdown, and whistled a penalty try. De Haas slotted the conversion and the USA U19s led 17-7 at the break.
In the second half, Canada mounted a comeback with Christoph Stangl and Owain Ruttan scoring. But de Haas scored his second, which he converted from the touchline, to keep his side ahead at 24-19. Then, with time winding down, Quinn Perry kicked a penalty to seal it 27-19.
"We were never worried about the outcomes, because this is a developmental assembly," said Stephenson. "We were looking for players to improve and develop and handle the physicality and pressure. They did that. We've got a good group of coaches here but in a short turnaround, to make adjustments it's on the players, and they did a good job."
Referee Wiener was in residence with the teams and worked with them between the two games to explain what he wanted in the set piece and especially in the breakdowns. It was a valuable experience for all concerned.
Next up for these players is either a U20 assembly coincidental with the Collegiate All Americans, or possible selection to the HS All American teams.