USA top Canada in round one of Men's U20s Trophy Qualifier

Sun, Jun 2, 2024, 1:02 AM
by Calder Cahill.

A second half surge saw the USA Men's U20s overcome a deficit against Canada in British Columbia on Saturday, claiming the first of two games against the northern rival.

Part of the North American qualifier for the World Rugby U20s Trophy, the young USA prospects competed together for the first time since 2023. A strong presence from the squad reserves helped the team climb out of a 7-11 hole after the first half, where Canada were able to earn a lead with two penalty goals given in the USA end. Captain Caden Crist would be the try-scorer for the future Eagles, carrying out of the ruck and over the line early.

By the second half, reserve flyhalf Oliver Cline went to the boot finding Tito Edjua in the corner for a highlight try. Also making an impact off the bench, Houston SaberCats Hooker Seth Smith did well to move the pack and pick up a goal-line try of his own. Corbin Smith would be the top earner on the day, with two tries from the Fullback position and eventually the dagger late.

Head Coach Neets Gericke said on the win, "The bounce off the ball helped us a bit, along with our reserves, the guys who are meant to finish the game came on and made a massive impact. I think that's the power of this squad, the depth we have with guys who can start and guys who can finish the game."

"The biggest thing for us going into the next game will be to stay connected. The scrums will be something we work on and our support players. If we we can get that fixed and keep the ball in hand a little bit longer, I think we'll be in good shape."

TRIES | C. Crist, S. Smith, T. Edjua, C. Smith (2)

CONV | C. Smith 1/1, O. Cline 3/4


Men’s U20s Roster | World Rugby Trophy Qualifier Match One | USA vs Canada
1. John-Henry Rouse Saint Mary's College
2. Caden Crist (C) Univ. of California - Berkeley
3. Asa Rosenmeier Brown University
4. Brice Muller Babson College
5. George Engels US Military Academy - West Point
6. Logan Ballinger Life University
7. Daniel Lowther St. Bonaventure University
8. Dylan Fortune Anthem Rugby Carolina (MLR)
9. Spencer Huntley San Diego Mustangs
10. Rand Santos Univ. of California - Berkeley
11. Tito Edjua Brown University
12. Max Threlkeld Univ. of California - Berkeley
13. Dominic Besag Saint Mary's College
14. Emmett Cook Univ. of California - Berkeley
15. Corbin Smith Hartpury University
16. Seth Smith Houston SaberCats (MLR)
17. Asbjorn Lau Ross UCLA
18. Tevita Kutu Anthem Rugby Carolina (MLR)
19. Miles Malone Univ. of California - Berkeley
20. Holden Hahn University of Kentucky
21. Judd Berman Trinity College
22. Oliver Cline Univ. of Central Washington
23. Keelan Farrell Esher Rugby Club

USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Staff

Head Coach | Neets Gericke

Assistant Coach | Elvis Seveali'i

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matoko Noudehou

Athletic Trainer | Anna Unnasch

Team Analyst | Luke Richmond

Team Manager | Darran Coleman

USA Men’s U20s North American Qualifier Schedule

June 1, 2024

USA vs Canada Match One | 33-18 (W)

Shawnigan Lake School | Shawnigan Lake, BC

June 6, 2024

USA vs Canada Match Two | 10pm ET

Starlight Stadium | Langford, BC

Qualifying for the U20s Trophy in consecutive years is only the first step in 2024 for the long-term USA development plan. A critical piece to the puzzle is a fundraising and support initiative dubbed, Fuel The Future, aimed at offering the most time and resources possible to the Junior National Teams. A grid of necessities goes into funding a single player's development journey - 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. The Men’s U20s are projected to be the very core of players expected to compete on home soil during Rugby World Cup 2031, so USA Rugby is hopeful to cultivate these individuals and players and members of the rugby community, with the support of donors like you.