The U.S. Men's U20 Junior All American team traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia to face the Samoa U20's team in their opening match of the IRB's Junior World Rugby Trophy. The Samoan Junior Nationals took the match 48-11 behind physical play and great ball movement.
Samoa was able to jump out to an early lead within the first ten minutes. Ausetalia Valomanu opened up scoring with his try in the third minute and Suamalie Tuiletufuga scored a try in the ninth minute. The captain and flyhalf, Patrick Fa'apale converted both tries to give Samoa a comfortable 14-0 lead early on.
On the kick-off following Samoa's second try, the U.S. team was able to play advantage off a Samoan knock-on. A quick ball to the forwards set up captain and flyhalf, Will Magie, for a brilliant drop-kick from about 30 meters out. After 11 minutes the U.S. team was on the board, behind 11-3.
The first twenty minutes of the game were dominated by the Samoan team who was able to effectively use their forward pack to create space for their backs outside. This play led to an easy try that put the score at 19-3, 15 minutes into the game.
The Samoan Junior Nationals dominated the scrums throughout the match which led to many scoring opportunities for their backs. While the U.S. team was able to pin the Samoan's down on their own 22 in the 20th minute, the strong Samoan scrummage produced a quick ball to their flyhalf who broke the U.S. line for a 60 meter run where he was able to offload to Talaga Alofipo who easily ran the last 20 meters to score the try.
Finally, the U.S. squad was able to somewhat control the ball after Samoa put the score at 24-3. A kick to touch by Will Magie led to a U.S. lineout on the Samoa 22. A great phase of U.S ball movement outside led to great pressure on the Samoans that created a penalty which turned into an easily converted kick by Will Magie that made the score 24-6 and ended scoring for the first half.
The second half was very similar to the first.
The Samoan team was easily able to break the U.S. defensive line. This led to long runs by their strong and speedy backs who were able to give their team two tries 15 minutes into the second half.
It wasn't until the 60th minute that the U.S. team was able to score their first and only try of the match. A yellow card on Faavae Faavae in the 57th minute gave the U.S. a one man advantage that they quickly capitalized on. Will Magie beautifully placed a grubber in the back left corner where Madison Hughes outran the Samoan defenders to dive on the ball and give the U.S. a try. A missed conversion by Joe Cowley kept the score at 34-11 in the 60th minute.
The U.S. team was unable to score again, while the Samoans added 14 more points for themselves to finish the game with a score of 48-11.
The U.S. U20's team will face Uruguay on June 1 in their second match of pool play. The match can be viewed streaming live at http://www.irb.com/jwrt/video/index.html.