Men’s U20s rematch with Canada for second round of Trophy qualifier

Thu, Jun 6, 2024, 12:03 AM
by Calder Cahill.

Big shifts from the Men’s U20s coaching staff as the match day 23 for round two against Canada is revealed.

Seven new names join the match roster following Saturday’s first round win, with position changes to complete the official 23. Thomas Wagner, Maseah Young, Benjamin Saunders, Jordan Vassel, Luke Schaefer, Solomon Williams will see first action in Langford and Padraic Casey will slot in at scrumhalf. The squad will relocate to Starlight Stadium in Langford for the second match, kicking off Thursday, June 6 at 10PM ET on RugbyPass TV.

The USA rode an electric second half during the first fixture of the two-game series to earn a 33-18 win and set themselves up for qualification on Thursday. In the days since, the squad has trained at Startlight Stadium.

USA Co-Captain and Eagle #568, Dominic Besag said on the time in between, “This week we’ve focused on discipline and connection, we’re looking to really have those as our focus points on defense. Attack wise, we’re looking to just be simple and execute the simple things. Elvis has a great attack plan for us, we just want to get those things right before we move forward on anything more complex. Overall, as a team, the ideology this week is to finish the job.”

Besag spent the 2023 August international tour with the Men’s National Team, earning his first cap against Georgia in Tbilisi. When asked about what he’s brought from that experience to the U20s, “I would say most of it is leadership. I learned a lot from Greg (Peterson), Tavite (Lopeti), Nate (Augspurger). I learned a lot from those guys about how to effectively communicate with people on the team that you need to get behind, because it’s really a group effort. It’s a cliché thing to say, but especially in rugby, you have to be a cohesive group. I think these last few weeks we’ve done a great job bringing the group together.”

USA Men’s U20s Roster Match Two | USA vs Canada | World Rugby Trophy Qualifier
1. Thomas Wagner Randwick
2. Seth Smith Houston SaberCats
3. Asbjorn Lau Ross UCLA
4. Maseah Young St Bonaventure
5. Miles Malone Univ. of California - Berkeley
6. George Engels Army West Point
7. Holden Hahn Kentucky Univ.
8. Logan Ballinger Life Univ.
9. Pádraic Casey Cal Poly
10. Benjamin Saunders Grand Canyon Univ.
11. Keelan Farrell Esher Rugby Club
12. Max Threlkeld Univ. of California - Berkeley
13. Dominic Besag (C) St Mary's College
14. Jordan Vassel Life Univ.
15. Rand Santos Univ. of California - Berkeley
16. Caden Crist Univ. of California - Berkeley
17. Luke Schaefer Lindenwood Univ.
18. Tevita Kutu Anthem RC
19. Brice Muller Babson College
20. Dylan Fortune Anthem RC
21. Solomon Williams Univ. of California - Berkeley
22. Oliver Cline Central Washington
23. Tito Edjua Brown University

USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Staff

Head Coach | Johannes Neethling Gericke

Assistant Coach | Elvis Seveali'i

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matoko Noudehou

Team Manager | Darran Coleman

Team Analyst | Luke Richmond

USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Schedule

June 1, 2024

USA vs Canada Match One

Shawnigan Lake School | Shawnigan Lake, BC

June 6, 2024

USA vs Canada Match Two

Starlight Stadium | Langford, BC

Selected from a identified pool of 52 players at or under the age of 20, the full traveling squad will arrive in Bellingham, WA on May 18 for a 10-day training camp at the deWilde Rugby & Polo Fields, before heading to Canada for the qualifier series. Men’s 15s General Manager Scott Lawrence and Pathways Manager Brendan Keane continue to commit assembly time to the core of development players, with new additions in 2024.

Of the 32 selected, 11 return from the 2023 qualifier and Trophy rosters, with six elevated from the 2023 Men’s U18s touring roster in Amsterdam. The remaining half of those names will make their first USA Rugby camp appearance, both from college and club play and seven names invited out to the Winter Camp this past December in North Carolina, also under the tutelage of Gericke. 2023 Captain, Dominic Besag will return to the group, following his appearance with the USA Men’s National Team last summer, earning his first test cap against Georgia and bringing senior side experience to the young group.

Gericke and Pathways Manager Brendan Keane now look forward to a momentous 2024 off the back of great foundations set last year. A critical piece to the puzzle in long-term planning is a fundraising and support initiative aimed at offering the most time and resources possible to the Junior National Teams. Lawrence has laid out a grid of necessities that goes into funding a single player - from travel, accommodations, coaching and supplies, where there is a significant amount of player support required. While World Rugby grants support the team for competition windows, gifts from generous donors are a crucial part of the plan, and ultimate growth for the USA Eagles on the world stage.