Maccabi USA Rugby 15s Golden at 2017 Maccabiah Games

Maccabi USA Rugby 15s Golden at 2017 Maccabiah Games

Doug Coil

The 20th Maccabiah Games were held from July 4 – 16, 2017 at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel. The tournament concluded Sunday with the Maccabi USA Rugby team  winning the gold medal over South Africa making the team, head coach Shawn Lipman and Maccabi USA very proud.

The first two days of the Games featured rugby 7s. The USA second half comeback was not enough to pull out the win against Australia and then they lost to eventual champion South Africa. This meant that the USA would be out of the medal round for the first time since the inception of rugby in the 1985 Maccabiah Games. The defending gold medal champions, the USA came through in a dominant performance to claim fifth place.

For a recap of the rugby 7s click here.

The USA began rugby 15s pool play with a 29-11 over Australia. This was then followed by a 22-15 win over Israel to conclude pool play. The USA then won 31-19 over Argentina in the semi-finals before claiming the gold medal with a 31-21 victory over South Africa and maintaining their unbeaten record.

The USA has earned medals in all rugby 15s Maccabiah GAmes.

USA v Australia

The USA had a 14-3 lead at halftime before winning 29-11. This was then followed by a 22-15 win over Israel, the 59th ranked team in the world.

With a 2-0 pool record, the United States advanced to the semi-finals to face Argentina and emerged with a 31-19 win to advance to the Gold Medal match against South Africa, who had a dominant 59-0 over Israel.

South Africa will be seeking double gold at the 2017 Maccabiah Games, having already won the 7s competition.

USA: 1 Benjamin Rotstein 2 Spencer Sarver 3 Mason Pederson (VC) 4 Alex Appel 5 Tristan Sylk 6 Isaac Katz 7 Chase Schor Haskin 8 Jack Braun 9 Zach David 10 Chance Doyle (C) 11 Howard Goldsmith 12 Derek Patick 13 Joseph Krassenstein 14 Sam Rabb 15 Jared Braun Reserves: Tanner Mohr, Aaron Blatt, Devin Pearl, Seth Cohen, Ben Hirschman, Matt Sarna, Roman Wilson, Mike Rudzinsky, Sam Harrison, Devin Andres Ibanez + HC Shawn Lipman

USA v Israel

Israel took the early lead in the 7th minute from a penalty kick after a high tackle to lead 3-0. They then added a try to increase their lead to 8-0.

The USA came back with a Sam Rabb try, converted by Chance Doyle, to narrow the score to 8-7. In the 35th minute, a high ball went off an Israeli player and into USA hands. The ball was swung wide right and Sam Rabb raced down from midfield for a try, again converted by Chance Doyle for a 12-8 lead.

In the second half, there was back and forth play until the 70th minute. From a scrum, Jack Braun picked for a try, increasing the USA lead to 17-8. Israel came back quickly finding gap through the middle for a converted try to narrow the lead to 17-15 with 7 minutes left.

With a minute to play, the USA elected to go for points from a penalty, but the kick by Kassenstein was wide left. Israel had a 22 meter drop, which appeared to be blocked resulting in Tanner Mohr sealing a 22-15 win.

Israel’s National Rugby team is currently ranked 59th in the world.

The USA are now 2-0 and will play Argentina in the Semi-finals on July 13th.

USA: 1 Benjamin Rotstein 2 Spencer Sarver 3 Mason Pederson (VC) 4 Tristan Sylk 5 Seth Cohen 6 Matt Sarna 7 Chase Schor Haskin 8 Roman Wilson 9 Zach David 10 Mike Rudzinsky 11 Howard Goldsmith 12 Jared Braun 13 Joseph Krassenstein 14 Sam Rabb 15 Chance Doyle (C) Reserves: Mike Korn, Tanner Mohr, Aaron Blatt, Devin Pearl, Isaac Katz, Ben Hirschman,Jack Braun ,Derek Patick, Sam Harrison, Devin Andres Ibanez, Alex Appel

Semi-Final: USA v Argentina

Maccabi USA Rugby took an early 5-0 lead at the 11th minute and then extended the lead to 12-0 two minutes later after a Jared Braun offload to Kevin Swiryn for the try.

Argentina struck back from close range for a try to narrow the lead to 12-5 before an Argentina player found a gap in the middle for a long try to tie the score at 12 all at halftime.

Early in the second half, the USA added a converted try and then another by Seth Cohen to increase the lead to 24-12.

Argentina was able to capitalize on a yellow card by the USA to add a converted try to keep the match within reach, 24-19. The USA sealed the match with no time remaining as Mickey Rudzinsky picked up a loose ball and went down the wing for a try. Chance Doyle converted for a 31-19 victory.

With the win, the USA will play South Africa, who are also unbeaten, for the Gold medal on Sunday, July 16. South Africa secured their place in the final with a dominant 59-0 win over Israel.

USA: 1 Benjamin Rotstein 2 Spencer Sarver 3 Mason Pederson  4 Alex Appel 5 Isaac Katz 6 Chase Schor Haskin 7 Devin Andres Ibanez 8 Jack Braun (VC) 9 Zach David 10 Chance Doyle 11 Kevin Swiryn (C) 12 Derek Patick 13 Joseph Krassenstein 14 Sam Rabb 15 Jared Braun Reserves: David Pearl, Tanner Mohr, Aaron Blatt, Seth Cohen, Devin Andres Ibanez, Ben Hirschman, Mike Korn, Mike Rudzinsky, Sam Harrison, Howie Goldsmith

Gold/Silver Match: USA v South Africa

South Africa came into the match the favorite to win gold, however the USA’s stellar defense and fitness proved the difference in winning the Gold medal for the first time in twenty years, 31-21.

The USA took a 12-0 lead before South Africa narrowed the score to 12-7. South Africa had the majority of first half possession and had they made three late penalty kicks, would have lead at halftime. Instead, it was the USA with a 12-7 lead at the break.

Four minutes into the second half, South Africa took their only lead of the match after a try in the corner, which was then converted to lead 14-12.

The USA came back with a try by Alex Appel who drove in off the breakdown to regain the lead 17-14.

The USA then camped out for five minutes inside the South Africa 5 meters. Twice the ball was held up in-goal before the Zach David went over for a try. Chance Doyle then converted for a 24-14 lead.

South Africa now needed two scores to win the match. They were awarded a penalty try, as the USA collapsed the maul to bring the match to within 3 points, 24-21.

The USA needed to maintain possession and attempted to slow the ball down with picks and goes. The USA then gave up possession to South Africa kicking the ball ahead. This could have brought South Africa back in a position to win the match. Fortunately for the USA, they created a turnover and Joey Krassenstein found a gap for a long run that ended with a try by #19. Doyle added a conversion for a 31-21 and the gold medal.

South Africa would settle for the silver and in the bronze medal match, Israel defeated Argentina.

USA: 1 David Pearl 2 Spencer Sarver 3 Mason Pederson  4 Chase Schor Haskin 5 Alex Appel 6 Isaac Katz 7 Matt Sarna 8 Jack Braun (VC) 9 Zach David 10 Chance Doyle (VC) 11 Kevin Swiryn (C) 12 Derek Patick 13 Joseph Krassenstein 14 Sam Rabb 15 Jared Braun Reserves: Benjamin Rotstein, Tanner Mohr, Aaron Blatt, Seth Cohen, Roman Wilson, Matt Sarna, Ben Hirschman, Mikey Rudzinsky, Sam Harrison, Howie Goldsmith, Tristan Sylk

2017 Maccabiah Games Rugby 15s Results

  • July 7 USA 29-11 Australia
  • July 9 South Africa 61-10 Argentina
  • July 9 USA 22-15 Israel
  • July 11 Israel 11-13 Argentina
  • July 11 Australia 17-35 South Africa
  • July 13 Cup SF USA 31-19 Argentina
  • July 13 Cup SF South Africa 59-0 Israel
  • July 16 Bronze Argentina L-W Israel
  • July 16 Gold USA 31-21 South Africa

Maccabi USA Rugby Squad

Maccabi USA Release: May 30, 2017 by Dakota Marine

Maccabi USA Rugby Chair Dave Rudzinsky along with Head Coach Shawn Lipman, is pleased to announce the Open Men’s Rugby Team for the 20th World Maccabiah Games, which will take place July 4-18, 2017 in Israel. Maccabi USA will bring a team of 1,100+ athletes who will be part of the 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries, participating in 43 different sports. Coach Lipman will be assisted by USA Rugby legend and 2016 Olympian, Zack Test and former USA Rugby 7’s and 15’s standout Kevin Swiryn has been named Team Captain.

The athletes are Alex Appel of Malden, MA, Mystic River Rugby Club; Aaron Blatt of Tarzana, CA, Santa Monica Rugby Club; Jack Braun of New York, NY, Dartmouth Rugby; Jared Braun of Redwood City, CA, Olympic Club; Seth Cohen New York, NY, NYAC; Shawn Cox of Austin, TX, Austin Huns; Chance Doyle of New Orleans, LA, NOLA; Howard Goldsmith of Chicago, IL, Westside Condors; Sam Harrison of Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado College; Benjamin Hirschman of Boulder, CO, University of Colorado; Devin Ibanez of Brookline, MA, Scarborough Rugby (UK); Isaac Katz of Philadelphia, PA, Philly Whitemarsh; Michael Korn of Vail, CO, New England College; Joseph Krassenstein of Los Angeles, CA, Santa Monica Rugby Club; Tanner Mohr of Davis, CA, Olympic Club; Derek Patick of Columbus, OH, Columbus Rugby; Devin Pearl of Buffalo, NY, Buffalo Rugby; Mason Pedersen of Long Beach, CA, Austin Huns; Samuel Rabb of Dallas, TX, Dallas Reds; Benjamin Rotstein of Denver, CO, Glendale Raptors; Michael Rudzinsky of Reading, MA, Mystic River Rugby Club; Matthew Sarna of Fair Lawn, NJ, Rocky Gorge; Spencer Sarver of Redwood City, CA, San Francisco Golden Gate; Chase Schor Haskin of Pembroke Pines, FL, St Thomas Aquinas; Zachary Strom of Denver, CO, Glendale Raptors; Kevin Swiryn of Seattle, WA, Seattle Saracens/USA Rugby; Tristan Sylk of Penn Valley, PA, Philly Whitemarsh; and Roman Wilson of Norman, OK, Oklahoma.

Since 1932, over 62,000 athletes have participated in the Maccabiah Games, in a celebration of Jewish Strength and Solidarity. Team USA’s success is not only measured by the medals won, but by the impact that the Maccabiah experience had on their lives as well as the friendships they formed.

Maccabi USA builds Jewish pride through sports, generating the emotional intensity, high ideals, and powerful camaraderie of competition. We connect athletes, volunteers, and supporters with the global Jewish community. Our athletic, educational, and cultural experiences build Jewish identity, perpetuate Jewish continuity worldwide, and strengthen support for the State of Israel.

For more information, please contact Maccabi USA Program Director Shane Carr at 215-561-6900 or by email at

For more about Maccabi USA Rugby read Maccabi USA Rugby Legacy and Hall of Fame.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs. The Organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America. As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities. It strives to provide Jewish athletes all over the world the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings. MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport. Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA has been selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as a Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The nonprofit Organization becomes one of 35 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant