Only three players – Zach Bonte, Vili Toluta’u and Joseph Whalen – attending camp were with the squad at last year’s IRB Junior World Championship in France.
“This group is going to be quite young,” MJAA Assistant Coach Luke Gross said. “There are a few involved, which is great, but a lot of them have moved out of the age bracket.”
The 26-man squad was selected after the Winter Camp in Tempe, Ariz., in December and the Filter Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., last month.
The MJAA coaching staff will finalize the JWRT squad following the conclusion of the Seattle Camp, though Titi Lamositele will be made available from Saracens Football Club for the JWRT.
“With this camp they will not have a second to themselves,” Gross said. “We’re basically trying to pump two weeks’ worth of training into three days. These kids are not going to get an inch to breathe, but they’re a great group. We think we’ve got a group capable of working hard and getting to Hong Kong with a good picture of what we’re trying to do.”
The team will scrimmage Seattle-OPSB the final day of camp.
“The game will give us a chance to play the team we think will be picked and give them some time together,” Gross said. “It’ll be messy, it’ll be ugly, but they’ll be able to call their plays and it’ll give us a reference point going into Hong Kong on the areas we need to brush up on.”
The MJAAs won the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 on home soil at Murray Rugby Park Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. The JWRT kicks off from China April 7, with the MJAAs in Pool A with Georgia, Hong Kong and Tonga.
USA Rugby AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | Seattle Camp