AIG Men’s Junior All-American Travel Squad Selected For World Rugby U20 Trophy

April 8, 2016

AIG Men’s Junior All-American Travel Squad Selected For World Rugby U20 Trophy


Photo: Travis Prior (USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American at Qualification Match v Canada)

Doug Coil

AIG Men’s Junior All-American Head Coach JD Stephenson travel quad for the World Rugby U20 Trophy has been selected. Twenty six athletes will travel to Harare, Zimbabwe for the April 19 to May 1, 2016 to vie for the Trophy. The Junior All-Americans will join hosts Zimbabwe, Fiji, Hong Kong, Namibia, Spain, Uruguay and Samoa in this event

JD Stephenson enters the Trophy competition with the interim head coach of the MJAA designation removed. He was rewarded for his accomplishments and now is the head coach.

At the Qualification match against Canada, the MJAAs defeated Canada 19-18 to earn a trip to the under 20 championship event. Ben Cima’s 80th-minute penalty from inside his own half to win the match will be part of rugby lore.

Stephenson, who is also Director of Rugby at Lindenwold University will once again convene a camp April 10-13th prior to leaving for Zimbabwe the next day. The team will once again be captained by Hanco Germishuys, who is now signed to a professional rugby contract with PRO Rugby’s Denver team.

The travel squad will include 14 of the Qualifier match day team held at Dell Diamond in Austin, Texas. This includes backs Ben Cima (flyhallf), Louis Mulholland (scrum half) and Lorenzo Thomas (center). Thomas then played for the Men’s Eagles at the Americas Rugby Championship.

There are five players included in this squad who were not part of the Qualifier. This includes Lindenwood’s Travis Heer replaced Deion Mikesell who was unavailable for this trip and Victor Comptat, who is playing professional rugby for C.A. Brive in France.

Stephenson said “We have had consistent weekly dialogue and feedback between each player’s respective program. This has allowed for continued player development and line of communication that are consistent between the MJAAs and the programs. Couple this with the daily well being surveys that our players have been completing and we have a good understanding mentally, physically, and tactically if the players are prepared.”

“We have laid the foundation of the understanding of the experimental law variations that will be used and have started our installations of our attack, defense, and set piece to be utilized against our respective opponents. This camp will serve the purpose of ensuring that we have the best possible platform to launch from at the U20 Trophy.”

Stephenson has also scheduled scrimmages against Lindenwood on both April 11 and 12th to facilitate playing together, as well as familiarize the players with the World Rugby experimental law variations. One of the variations includes tries worth six points and successful conversion and penalty goal attempts each worth two points.

The U20 Trophy competition will impact student athletes, as the competition occurs during the academic year. It also impacts player rugby competitions. The U20 Trophy is scheduled alongside the collegiate playoffs for rounds of the D1A and Division 1AA competitions. Eleven players from the University of Arizona, Life University, Lindenwold University, and Louisiana State University will miss at least 3 D1A Rugby rounds while in Africa. Germishuys will miss the first three weeks of the PRO Rugby season.

Stephenson continued to say “I think there is merit in all competitions that our playing group is drawn from. That being said, there is no higher accolade for a player to represent his or her country and the standard of play at the international level gives the players that well-rounded aspect to their game.”

“Being able to adapt to a completely different playing group, coaching philosophies, individual playing expectations, and key performance indicators is a challenge in itself, and to do that up against some of the best age-grade players in the world pushes the boundaries as a player and for ourselves as coaches.”

The MJAAs will play Hong Kong, Namibia, and Spain in the round robin pool play to determine the matchups for the Finals day May 1.

Note, this article has been adapted from a USA Rugby Press Release written by Chad Wise earlier today.


Malon Al-JibooriLindenwood UniversityFlanker
Sam BenkowskiMetropolisProp
Steven BranhamUniversity of ArizonaHooker
Benjamin CimaRocky GorgeFly half
Victor ComptatCA BriveLock
Ruben de HaasLittle Rock Junior StormersScrum half
Brennan FalconLouisiana State UniversityFlanker
Hanco GermishuysDenver (PRO)Flanker
Rodney GilesHenley HawksFull back
Brian HannonIUPUICenter
Travis HeerLindenwood UniversityWing
Carter HunchikLife UniversityProp
Devin LimUCLACenter
Deven MarshallUnaffliatedLock
Louis MulhollandBath UniversityScrum half
Mason PedersenUniversity of ArizonaProp
Roman SalanoaKahuku High SchoolProp
Chad SneydGosford RugbyLock
Tyler SousleyUniversity of ArizonaWing
Veuki TaumoefolauLas Vegas IrishNumber Eight
Bronson TelesKaty BarbariansLock
Lorenzo ThomasLindenwood UniversityCenter
Ruairi Van RaalteUtiku Old BoysHooker
Duncan Van SchalkwykLife UniversityFly half
Chance WenglewskiLindenwood UniversityProp
Mitchell WilsonLife UniversityFull back

AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans | 2016 World Rugby U20 Trophy
JD Stephenson – Head Coach
Michael Engelbrecht – Assistant Coach
Shawn Pittman – Assistant Coach
Justin Goonan – Assistant Coach
James Walton – Analyst
Dr. Terrence Cronin – Team Doctor
Brian Finn – Athletic Trainer

AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans | 2016 World Rugby U20 Trophy
v. Namibia – Tuesday, April 19 @ 4 a.m. ET
v. Hong Kong – Sunday, April 23 @ 10 a.m. ET
v. Spain – Thursday, April 27 @ 10 a.m. ET


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