EIRA U16s Down BC U16s

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The Eagle Impact Rugby Academy U16s defeated the British Columbia U16 all-stars 32-12 on Thursday on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The EIRA team, made up mostly of players from California, along with others who had shown well in EIRA camps or for more local EIRA select sides, showcased a fairly slick team approach that relied on good ball handling and a ton of support play.

EIRA controlled the ball right off the restart and worked it back and forth before getting a kickable penalty, which Edwin Sanderson missed. But BC was still stuck in its end of the field, and eventually the EIRA team forced a penalty and that led to a try. The tourists took the lineout, won it, worked it wide with centers Jake Negrete and Peyton Wall, and than powered it over with prop Mava Roberts. Sanderson slotted the conversion to give EIRA a 7-0 lead.

Soon it was 10-0. EIRA reclaimed the ball and ran a snappy series of phases that forced BC to drift offside. Sanderson punished the infraction with a penalty kick.

EIRA started to take control in the first half after that. In its own 22, the EIRA team defended well, got the ball back, and countered quickly. A half-break and a penalty later, the American team had another lineout, and from there Wall set up Sanderson, who broke a tackle and sidestepped another to curve in for the try. His conversion was good, too, and EIRA led 17-0.

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BC looked to test EIRA with size in the forwards and kicks for territory, but the EIRA defense was there and the deep three handled the kicks well enough. On one such kick, fullback Ethan van Tonder raced back to gather the bouncing ball and ran away out of his own try zone before kicking out of trouble. Van Tonder was hit late, and that penalty pretty much ended the BC pressure.

Then, from an overthrown BC lineout, flanker Colin Turner, who was all over the place on the day, nabbed the ball, pushed off a defender, and then popped a pass to No. 8 Triston Haverty, who galloped 50 meters for the try and a 22-0 halftime lead.

BC came back in the second half, running its big fullback in through some desultory EIRA tackling for a try in the corner. Sanderson answered with a penalty, but BC scored another and spent much of the final quarter of the game putting EIRA on its heels.

But EIRA gave BC a taste of its own medicine. After a turnover at midfield, the EIRA players consolidated possession, and then flyhalf Max Schumacher, who looked comfortable all afternoon, put in a perfectly weighted kick for tiny wing Jacob Cortinas to chase down. Cortinas took the ball off the bounce just as he was hit. But he handled the contact, broke out of the tackle, and dove in. Sanderson hit the difficult conversion, and it was 32-12.

BC had one more shot, but once again the EIRA defense held.

Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Lineup
1. George Henry Miller, V, Jesuit High School;  2. George Baron, Saint Thomas Aquinas KS; 3. Mavaeganailetai Roberts, South Bay Spartans; 4. Lucas Pattinson, Back Bay; 5. Jake Stone, San Diego Aztecs; 6. Marcus Pinzon, North County Youth Rugby; 7. Colin Turner, Back Bay; 8. Triston Haverty, Granite Bay Rugby; 9. Brayden Goodnight, Brownsburg; 10. Max Schumacher, Jesuit HS; 11. Edwin Sanderson, Granite Bay Rugby; 12. Jake Negrete, San Joaquin Memorial HS; 13. Peyton Wall, Leo Lions Rugby; 14. Jacob Cortinas, Peninsula Green RFC; 15. Ethan van Tonder, Rocky Mountain

Reserves: 16. Jonathan Hammond, West Shore United; 17. Dylan Richardson, Corona Hawks; 18. Jacob McDonald, Aztec Warriors; 19. Alex Geisert, Liberty North HS; 20. Luca Gillespie-Brown, Peninsula Green RFC; 21. John Nelson, Temecula Rugby; 22. Jack Flanagan, Phoenix Firebirds; 23. Ben Wierenga, Valley Center HS; 24. Gabriel Wegge, OMBAC; 25. Braiden Manusina, Arrowhead Berserkers

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