The USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans will embark on a demanding four-game tour of Argentina from July 13 to July 28 thanks to the sponsorship of Aircraft Charter Solutions.
Following on from the 2012 tour where the HSAAs went 3-2 against Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, the HSAAs have taken on a more challenging schedule with two opening games against Cordoba, the best regional academy in Argentina, July 18 and 21. Those games will be followed by a double-header test series against Argentina u18s July 24 and 27 in Rio Cuarto.
The HSAA roster includes the best young players in the country: 13 seniors, 12 juniors and four sophomores. Eighteen members of the squad are HSAA returners and five played against Argentina last July in the 52-3 loss.
“The theme for the tour is to narrow the gap between the Pumas and us,” Head Coach Salty Thompson said. “Our boys are outstanding domestic high school players but they’re unaccustomed to the pace and pressure against a tier one nation. Exposure to this level of rugby will challenge our squad to step up and test themselves early in their careers.”
Potentially this is the best HSAA team in recent years. There is a mix of experience and new talent. Titi Lamositele, a senior prop, has played in South Africa, England, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina leading up to his final HSAA tour. He has already been in camp with the Eagles this year.
Zachary Webber and Calvin Whiting have become an experienced pairing for the HSAAs in 15s and sevens. Webber will attend Brigham Young University after his mission while Whiting is still a junior. Michael Reid and Ben Cima partnered at 9 and 10 as u17s last year then played on the South American tour as sophomores. Reid left school in Virginia to attend New Plymouth High School and train at Taranaki Academy in New Zealand while Cima has started with Gonzaga since his freshman year.
Among the new players, Justin Allen, Siaosi Mahoni and Andrew Naylor bring a new dimension at lock, where it is more common to find six-foot-three high school second rows.
“Most have never jumped because teammates can’t lift them,” Thompson said. “So learning to jump in addition to lifting and using their size in contact will be a challenge.”
The preparation for this tour has required players to follow strict training programs and report test scores on a regular basis. Commitment has stepped up and some players were replaced because they could not meet the demands.
“Representing the USA is a massive honor, demanding character, responsibility and commitment,” Thompson said. “We will not start to narrow the gap without a devoted effort from players and staff.”
The HSAA staff for the South American Tour includes assistant coaches Michael Engelbrecht and Paule Barford, trainer Anne Micinski and manager Dale Roach.
USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans | South America Tour 2013
|Player||No.||Birth Date||Year||Height||Weight||Club||City, State|
|Christian Adams||12||May 1 1994||Senior||5'10"||190||Pride Rugby||Washington, D.C.|
|Justin Allen||5||July 18 1995||Junior||6'10"||266||Portadown||Letterkenny, Ireland|
|Jesus Arias||1||August 10 1996||Junior||6'2"||215||United||Orem, Utah|
|Niall Barry||7||November 8 1994||Senior||5'10"||170||Reeds Weybridge||Cobham, Surrey|
|Steven Branham||2||June 27 1997||Sophomore||5'10"||215||Fallbrook Rugby Club||Fallbrook, California|
|Benjamin Cima||10||March 20 1996||Junior||6'0"||180||Gonzaga College||Bethesda, Maryland|
|Anthony Fotu||8||April 25 1995||Senior||6'4"||255||Hayward Griffins||San Leandro, California|
|Hanco Germishuys||7||August 24 1996||Junior||6'1"||205||Warriors||Omaha, Nebraska|
|Seth Halliman||13||May 24 1995||Junior||6'2"||190||Colorado Springs||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Viliami Helu||8||March 20 1996||Junior||6'3"||225||Danville Oaks||San Ramon, California|
|Reed Heynen||6||September 7 1995||Junior||6'2"||197||Belmont Shore||Long Beach, California|
|Michael Kellett||5||June 8 1994||Senior||6'3"||220||St. Louis Bombers||St. Charles, Missouri|
|David Kucharski||14||June 5 1995||Senior||6'4"||210||Muskego Rugby Club||Muskego, Wisconsin|
|Titi Lamositele||1||February 11 1995||Senior||6'0"||250||Chuckanut Bay||Bellingham, Washington|
|Valdemar Lee-Lo||3||July 4 1995||Senior||6'0"||250||Dixon||Dixon, California|
|Siaosi Mahoni||4||January 29 1997||Sophomore||6'7"||225||Razorbacks||East Palo Alto, California|
|John Marti||3||September 2 1995||Senior||6'1"||255||Belmont Shore||Long Beach, California|
|Aaron Matthews||11||March 12 1997||Sophomore||5'9"||178||Back Bay Sharks||Irvine, California|
|Malcolm May||6||March 24 1996||Senior||6'1"||205||Ignatius||Chicago, Illinois|
|Andrew Naylor||4||September 13 1996||Sophomore||6'6"||257||Prince William||Haymarket, Virginia|
|Suwaiter Poch, Jr.||2||July 21 1996||Junior||6'0"||230||Hilo Reign||Hilo, Hawaii|
|Michael Reid||9||September 12 1995||Junior||5'10"||176||Taranaki Academy||New Plymouth, New Zealand|
|Jimmy Ronan||9||February 27 1996||Junior||5'7"||155||Gonzaga College||Kensington, Maryland|
|Gabriel Ruffin||6||February 8 1995||Senior||6'4"||187||Herriman||Riverton, Utah|
|Joeli Tikoisuva||11||March 1 1996||Junior||5'11"||180||Islanders||Sacramento, California|
|David Todd||12||February 6 1995||Senior||5'9"||190||Union Rugby Club||Tulsa, Oklahoma|
|Zachary Webber||15||October 19 1994||Senior||6'0"||185||United||Orem, Utah|
|Calvin Whiting||13||November 30 1995||Junior||6'1"||198||United Rugby Club||Highland, Utah|
|James Wolfer||10||May 5 1995||Senior||5'9"||178||Xavier High School||Rockaway Park, New York|