MJAAs lose first Canada match in Minnesota test series

MJAAs lose first Canada match in Minnesota test series

BLAINE, Minn. – The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans could not hold onto an early second-half lead Wednesday, May 8, and ultimately fell to Canada’s U20s 26-16 at the National Sports Center. Head Coach Jason Kelly’s MJAAs will get a chance at revenge Saturday, May 11, in Blaine.

The reigning Junior World Rugby Trophy winners gave up three early penalties, which were converted by Canada’s Shane O’Leary, for a 9-0 deficit. The University of California-Davis’ Liam Bourke added two penalty kicks of his own to keep the MJAAs in the match, and the score held at 9-6 at the half.

Bourke matched O’Leary with his third penalty to start the second half and tie the game at 9-9. Belmont Shore’s Mike Teo gave the MJAAs their first lead of the match with a try resulting from a penalty. Bourke added the conversion to make it 16-9. The lead did not last long, however, and Canada kept the MJAAs from scoring again.

Four minutes later, Canada replied through Justin Douglas and an O’Leary conversion to even the score before another O’Leary penalty gave Canada a 19-16 lead with three minutes remaining. James Pitbaldo scored the insurance try at the end of the match – with yet another successful O’Leary kick – to bring the final score to 26-16.

“We played well in the first half, but just didn’t convert anything,” Kelly said. “After four or five phases, we’d lose patience and turn the ball over.”

The MJAAs will host Canada again on Saturday at the National Sports Center in conjunction with Minnesota Youth Rugby. The MJAAs will prepare for the match with film sessions and light training Thursday and Friday.

“We will need more intensity in the second match and to keep up the pace of play,” Kelly said. “We need to keep our hands on the ball.”

A full day of rugby Saturday will include a Middle School Showcase Match and Boys High School Showcase Match to start off the day, with a Rookie Rugby Jamboree also scheduled.

The other events on Saturday are free for spectators, while a Ruck/Continuity and Lineout Coaching Clinic, hosted by USA Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Luke Gross, is $20. The fee also includes a ticket to the second MJAAs match against Canada.

To purchase tickets for the second match, please click here >>

Follow Minnesota Youth Rugby on Twitter @MNYouthRugby for match updates on Saturday and more information regarding the day’s events.

Click here for the full roster and more information.

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | vs. Canada U20s
Nu'u Aiava
Dylan Audsley
Nick Barrett
Tom Bliss
Zach Bonte
Liam Bourke
Nick Boyer
Ross Deacon
Cameron Falcon
Lemoto Filikitonga
Henry Hall
Brendan Hardiman
Casper Huizenga
Conor Kearns
Korbin Lindell
Joel Smith
Jared Stewart
Noah Tarrant
Mike Teo
Vili Toluta'u
Vei Tomasi
Teli Veamatahau
Gary Vimahi

AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans | vs. Canada U20s
Tries: Teo
Conversions: Bourke
Penalties: Bourke (3)

Schedule of Events

EventDate & TimeLocationTicketsMore Info
Middle School Showcase Match May 11 - 11:00 A.M. Field i1 Free Map
Boys High School Showcase Match May 11 - 11:00 A.M. Field i2 Free Map
Rookie Rugby Flag Jamboree (K-8) May 11 - 1:00 P.M. Field i1 Free (all children K-8 welcome to participate) Map
Metropolis Rugby Club DI and DII vs. Milwaukee Curtain Raiser May 11 - 1:00 P.M. Field i2 Free Map
Luke Gross Ruck/Continuity and Lineout Coaching Clinic (five credits) May 11 - 3:30 P.M. Field i1 $20 (includes ticket to second test; pay on arrival) Map
Women's Club Showcase Match May 11 - 4:00 P.M. Field i2 Free Map
MJAAs vs. Canada (Test Two) May 11 - 6:00 P.M. Field U2 (Bowl next to stadium) Adults: $10
Kids 13 & Under: $5

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