LISBON, Portugal -- The USA Rugby Boys High School All-American Junior Varsity (under-17) team, sponsored by Aircraft Charter Solutions, opens its three-game European tour with Portugal Wednesday, April 9, at 4:00 P.M. local time (11:00 A.M. ET).
The 28-man squad assembled in Atlanta, Ga., Saturday, fitness tested Sunday morning, then flew to Lisbon. The team will have three training sessions prior to the opening game.
The HSAA squad ranges from freshmen to juniors, all 1997 births apart from five players born in 1998. The forwards have impressive size and mobility. Branham and Haley return as U17 hookers while Iscaro, Moli, Jacobs and Bloomfield offer good options at prop. Four players stand at six-foot-four, with Mahoni the tallest at six-foot-seven at lock, to provide obvious lineout potential.
Nault, Branham, Matthews, Raby and Heer were U17s last year against Wales and England U16s. Mahoni, Branham and Matthews were on the July tour to Argentina. That type of experience for high school juniors should show in their performance and leadership.
The backs have power and pace. Strong midfield running is expected from Matthews and Thomas while the outside backs have impressive speed in Heer, Lim, Raby, Miller and Moon White.
Power and Ramirez are good, strategic kickers at 10, while Walty and Cortinas provide the connection at scrum-half.
"The two-game series against Portugal will provide a measure on how we can come together and play as a team," HSAA Head Coach Salty Thompson said. "Performances this week will determine who makes the team for the France U17 game next Wednesday in Lyon."
The JV program is a much-needed development pathway to international rugby. Titi Lamositele, Hanco Germishuys, Scott Dean, Michael Reid, Ben Cima (all with the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans in Hong Kong for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy) were U17s in the past two years.
USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans | European Tour
|Keanu Andrade||5'7"||190||Sophomore||De La Salle and Danville|
|Chase Bixby||6'6"||195||Junior||Granite Bay Grizzlies|
|Sione Bloomfield||5'9"||200||Junior||Herriman High School|
|Erik Cortinas||5'7"||145||Junior||Peninsula Green|
|George Fotu||6'5"||220||Sophomore||Peninsula Green|
|Zachary Haley||6'||200||Junior||Hopkins Royals|
|Travis Heer||5'11"||195||Junior||Back Bay Sharks|
|Jack Iscaro||6'1"||245||Junior||Gonzaga College High School|
|Jon Jacobs||6'3"||260||Junior||Prince William|
|Liam Jimmon||6'4"||225||Sophomore||Back Bay Sharks|
|Devin Lim||6'1"||180||Junior||San Diego Young Aztecs|
|Siaosi Mahoni||6'7"||250||Junior||Peninsula Green|
|Aaron Matthews||5'9"||185||Junior||Back Bay Sharks|
|Korbin Miller||6'||165||Sophomore||Charlotte Tigers|
|Kalisi Moli||6'2"||251||Junior||Herriman High School|
|Olan Moon White||6'1"||175||Junior||Santa Monica|
|Brian Nault||6'1"||210||Junior||Shelton Savages|
|Torran Raby||6'2"||185||Junior||San Diego Mustangs|
|Andres Ramirez||5'9"||178||Junior||Sacramento Jesuit|
|Evan Walty||5'9"||158||Junior||Belmont Shore|
|Joshua Warnock||6'3"||215||Sophomore||Peninsula Green|
|John Weigold||6'1"||205||Junior||Greenwich High School|
|Jack White||6'1"||195||Freshman||Penn Rugby|