USA MJAAs Beat Canada, but Canada Advances to World Rugby U20 Trophy

June 17, 2017

USA MJAAs Beat Canada, but Canada Advances to World Rugby U20 Trophy


Photo: AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans

Doug Coil

Canada sweep the World Trophy Qualifier with the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans winning on June 17 at Ellerslie Rugby Park. They also won the first leg of the series 46-12. The match was streamed live via Rugby Canada’s Facebook page. As the winner of this qualifier, Canada will represent North America in Montevideo, Uruguay, in September.

The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans were faced with a difficult task of  qualifying for the World Rugby U20 Trophy after Canada’s U20 team’s 46-12 win at Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton Tuesday. They not only needed to win on Saturday, but needed to make up a 34 point deficit.

Read the Match One Recap and the preview of match 2.

Canada U20 v AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans

The beginning of the match found both sides losing momentum threw dropped ball. The USA took an early lead after Peter Howard found a gap and kicked ahead. After a USA lineout and a penalty by Canada on a tackle, Ruben de Hass slotted a penalty kick at the 11 minute for a 3-0 lead. Canada then had the opportunity to tie the match 3 minutes later, but Will Kelly’s penalty kick was pulled.

Canada had a sustained attack going through 10+ phase before Josh Thiel lost the ball forward. After the ensuing scrum, the USA swung the ball wide with Cristian Rodriguez offloading the ball off target to Deion Mikesell. Canada won the scrum and Anton Ngongo found a gap. Several pick and goes later, Cole Keith barrelled over for a try. Will Kelly slotted the conversion for a 7-3 lead.

Canada increased their lead to 12-3 when Aidan McMullan broke down the wing for a try near the corner. Kelly’s conversion went wide. Four minutes later, Kelly increased the lead to 15-3 after slotting a penalty kick.

At the 36th minute, the referee needed to settle the game down as both sides were chippy. A double yellow was issued to Harley Wheeler of the USA and George Barton of Canada.

Shortly later, it was the USA’s turn to attack. With the team 15 meters from the line, Christian Dyer was tackled near the line, but was not held and then went over for a try to narrow the score to 15-8 with two minutes remaining prior to halftime.

Canada then added a try with no time remaining as Dewald Kotze went over from a lineout turned into a maul for a 20-8 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the USA gained the early momentum with Peter Howard scoring a try at the 42nd minute. After the conversion by Ruben de Hass, the score was 20-15.

Canada brought the match back to a 10 point lead after a penalty, a George Barton run off a switch and then a try by James O’Neill off a pick close to the line.

The USA answered back with a try by Daemon Torres to cut the lead to 25-20 at the 59th minute.

The USA would need to play a man down for almost the last ten minutes of the match when scrumhalf Ruben de Hass was sent to the bin. This did not deter the USA, as Torres would add a second try at the 78th minute, with Sam Walsh converting to give the USA a 27-25 lead.

The USA made a critical error from a lineout after a penalty and with no time on the clock. Martin Keuchkerian threw a long pass in the lineout that bounced and was taken by Canada, A knock on however, ended the match and secured a 27-25 win for the USA.

On the strength of Canada’s 46-12 win in match one, they will represent the North American region in the World Rugby Trophy U20 tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay in September.


AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans:  1. Payton Talea 2. Jack Iscaro 3. Chance Wenglewski 4. Tommy Clark 5. Daemon Torres 6. Malon Al-Jiboori (C) 7. Jack Miller 8. Nafi Maafu 9. Ruben de Haas 10. Samuel Walsh 11. Peter Howard 12. Christian Dyer 13. Harley Wheeler 14. Deion Mikesell 15. Cristian Rodriguez 16. Martin Keuchkerian 17. Brian Nault 18. Jake Jorstad 19. Bailey Wilson 20. Justin Johnson 21. Quinn Perry 22. Aaron Matthews 23. Lorenzo Thomas

AIG All-Americans Coaching Staff:

  • JD Stephenson – Head Coach
  • Rob Randell – Assistant Coach
  • Colton Cariaga – Assistant Coach
  • Chris Oosthuizen – Assistant Coach
  • Justin Goonan – Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Jimmy Harrison – Analyst
  • Alan Wallace – Physiotherapist
  • Mike Elam – Manager

Canada:  1. Liam Murray 2. Dewald Kotze 3. Cole Keith 4. Liam Doll 5. Matt Beukeboom 6. Lachlan Currie 7. James O’Neill 8. Jake Thiel 9. Fraser Hurst 10. Will Kelly 11. Elias Ergas
12. Josh Thiel 13. George Barton (C) 14. Anton Ngongo 15. Aidan McMullan 16. Steven Ng
17. Connor Sampson 18. Nick Frost 19. Jamie McNaughton 20. Jack McRogers 21. Will Percillier 22. Brennig Prevost 23. Cole Davis

Canada U20 Canada Coaching Staff:

  • Jeff Williams – Head Coach
  • Dave Butcher – Assistant Coach
  • Sean McDonaugh – Assistant Coach
  • Kiyomi Thompson – Athletic Therapist
  • Jeff Watson – S&C Coach
  • Derek Pue – Analyst
  • Alana Gattinger – Team Manager

AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans – World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifiers
v. Canada – L 46-12
v. Canada – W 27-25

Match 2 Scoring

AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans 27
Tries: Christian Dyer, Peter Howard, Daemon Torres (2) Conversions: Ruben De Haas (1), Sam Walsh (1) Penalties: Ruben de Haas (1) Discipline: Harley Wheeler, Ruben de Hass

Canada 25
Tries: Cole Keith, Aidan McMullan, Dewald Knotze, Anton Ngongo, Josh Thiel, Aidan McMullan, Fraser Hurst, Jamie McNaughton, Cole Davis Conversions: Will Kelly (1) Penalties: Will Kelly (1) Discipline: George Barton


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant