February 12, 2016
U20 World Rugby Trophy Qualifier: USA – Canada
The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans take on Canada Saturday in a winner take all World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifier at Dell Diamond following the Americas Rugby Championship match pitting the USA Men’s Eagles against Canada. The match will be streamed on USA Rugby TV.
Hanco Germishuys will captain JD Stephenson’s AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans side.
Last year, USA lost to Canada during a two-leg qualification series by scores of 24-23 and 45-6. Canada then advanced to the 2015 World Junior Trophy where they finished in second place.
Stephenson assembled 52 players during a Winter Camp in early January, narrowed the candidates in another camp in Lindenwood University in the beginning of February. He then made his selections after training in Austin, Texas and scrimmaging the Austin Blacks, who hosted the team at their facility.
Stephenson said, “it’s been a very physically- and mentally-tough week on the players. The combination of two sessions, film, and daily one-on-ones can be taxing for the players. Our recovery protocol has been imperative to ensure that players are rested and that injuries are managed.”
Ben Cima and Louis Mulholland were part of the Eagles’ Rugby World Cup 2015 Training Squad. They are the fly half and scrum half, respectively. They both were part of the squad against Canada last March. Hanco Germishuys will join the USA Men’s Eagles for the Americas Rugby Championship matches in Uruguay and Brazil. Nick Kwasniewski, in another of the veterans on the team at prop.
With a trip to Zimbabwe on the line, the Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell met with the MJAAs during jersey ceremony earlier today to offer encouragement.
Stephenson also added that “it’s a great vibe to be on the same pitch as the senior side, playing in a great venue, and it has rubbed off on the playing group.”
Salty Thompson’s influence is reflected in this group as ten athletes in the starting XV have progressed through the Boys High School All-Americans. Additionally, nine starters are members of D1A Rugby collegiate teams.
Finally Stephenson added “the starting XV is the best reflection of how the Men’s Junior All-Americans want to play rugby on Saturday evening. All 26 players in our greater squad play a vital role of getting the best out of each other, and this should be reflected in the starting XV.”
Canada’s Men’s U20 Head Coach Jeff Williams has named eight returnees in his starting team for Saturday’s World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifier against the USA. The side is
captained by Andrew Coe, and includes several other players who placed against the USA last year. Phil Berna, Matt Tierney, Theo Sauder, Cali Martinez, Adrian Wadden, Reegan O’Gorman and Luke Bradley are part of the starting XV, while Brendan Blaikie is a reserve.
Jeff Williams said that “with nine returning players, six in the forwards and three in the backs, it is very balanced. The preparations thus far have been good. We have had two camps and within the last camp a more focused approach to our set pieces and nine play.
It is always good to see what players are able to apply the skills and game plan that we have tried to implement.”
Canada’s Trenton Cooper and Aaron Evison also have international experience having recently competed for Canada’s developmental side, the Maple Leafs.
Cali Martinez, Andrew Quattrin and Matt Tierney form a strong front row with Conor Keys and Reegan O’Gorman getting the start at lock. Nakai Penny joins returnees Wadden and Bradley in the back row.
Canada’s backs are experienced with Cole Keffer starting at scrum half and Robbie Povey at flyhalf. Sauder and Trenton Cooper are the wings, while George Barton and Berna are the centers. Captain Coe starts at fullback.
Thirty-nine players were brought to two camps before a final squad of 25 was selected for the qualifier.
This match is a one-game qualification match in Austin, Texas, with the winner advancing to the tournament in Zimbabwe in April.
Williams added “the USA will be tough. They are playing at home with lots of momentum on their side. New coaches bring new energy and new ideas. I expect a physical encounter Saturday night.”
AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans: 1. Connor Cudeback 2. Steven Branham 3. Nick Kwasniewski 4. Sean Coleman 5. Malon Al-Jiboori 6. Uki Taumoefolau 7. Brennan Falcon 8. Hanco Germishuys (C) 9. Louis Mulholland 10. Ben Cima 11. Deion Mikesell 12. Brian Hannon 13. Lorenzo Thomas 14. Tyler Sousley 15. Mitchell Wilson 16. Zachary Haley 17. Chance Wenglewski 18. Mason Pedersen 19. Joshua Warnock 20. George Fotu 21. Ruben de Haas 22. Rodney Giles 23. Devin Lim Coaching Staff: JD Stephenson – Interim Head Coach, Justin Goonan – Strength and Conditioning & Skills Coach, Pete Borlase – Forwards Coach, James Walton – Video Analyst, Michael Engelbrecht – Backs Coach & Manager, David Fee – Skills Coach, Scott Lawrence – Technical Advisor, Kevin Battle – Skills Coach & Academy Manager
Canada U20: 1. Cali Martinez 2. Andrew Quattrin 3. Matt Tierney 4. Reegan O’Gorman 5. Conor Keys 6. Adrian Wadden 7. Nakai Penny 8. Luke Bradley 9. Cole Keffer 10. Robbie Povey 11. Theo Sauder 12. George Barton 13. Phil Berna 14. Trenton Cooper 15. Andrew Coe (C) 16. Conor Sampson 17. Brendan Blaikie 18. Curtis Delmonico 19. Matt Beukeboom 20. Peter Milazzo 21. Keaton Porter 22. Mitch Richardson 23. Aaron Evison Coaching Staff: Head Coach – Jeff Williams, Assistant Coach – Kenny Goodland, Strength and Conditioning coach – Gareth Lynch, Manager – Jack Hanratty, Video Analyst – Aaron Takle, Head Therapist – Jessica Smith