USA Men's Roster For Youth Olympics Named

USA Red Scores At Can-Ams

LAFAYETTE, CO. - USA Rugby has officially named 12 athletes to the 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Men's Rugby Team and two non-traveling reserves for the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee. 

Led by Head Coach JD Stephenson, the organization will strive for a convincing performance in the second-ever inclusion of rugby sevens at the Youth Olympic Games.

The Games will kick off on Oct. 6 following the Opening Ceremony with pool play competition for rugby sevens beginning Oct. 13 at 11 AM ET. Medals will be awarded on Oct. 15 with broadcast information and a full schedule confirmed closer to date. 

After naming an extended squad of 16 athletes, Stephenson and his staff spent time evaluating players' performances after the recent Can-Am Futures Sevens tournament.

"This selection process was one of the toughest we've been involved in; that's a testament to the wider playing pool and their respective programs, coaches, and staff," said Stephenson. "The level of play we've seen and countlessly reviewed has made for a long and arduous final selection. We are confident that the men chosen will represent Team USA to the fullest. I can't thank our coaching staff and those coaches we have been fortunate enough to share this journey with along the way for their time, dedication and friendship."

Headlining the squad as Captain is standout Junior Waqavesi, who trained with the senior USA Men's Sevens team and recently participated in the 2018 Youth Touch World Cup for USA U18. Also accompanying the bunch is Ty Al-Jiboori who follows in the footsteps of his older brother capped Men's Eagle (15s) and Men's Sevens' Malon Al-Jiboori.

Additionally, three players -- Lauina Falatea, Johnny Mahe and Uluamu Niutupuivaha -- all join the team from Kahuku Rugby adding a built-in comradery that will accent the entire group through the competition.

"From a preparation standpoint, we've been fortunate enough to lean on Coach Salty Thompson for some Youth Olympic Games insight having lived it in the previous iteration of the Games," said Coach Stephenson. "Our Men's Sevens staff also graciously provided a unique perspective on the Olympics, as well as technical and tactical support of our playing group and staff."

Team USA finished fifth in rugby sevens at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014, where current Men's National Team (15s) player Hanco Germishuys scored a momentum-shifting try to help his side defeat Japan. 

Stephenson and his squad will assemble later this month for a training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista, CA, arriving in Buenos Aires in early October. Broadcast information and a full schedule will be confirmed closer to date.

2018 U.S. YOUTH OLYMPIC MEN'S RUGBY TEAM ROSTER

Player Name 

Program

Al-Jiboori, Tyren 

Union Rugby 

Clark, Max

Brighton College (ENG)

Cleary, Alex

Chuckanut Bay Rugby

Falatea, Lauina

Kahuku Rugby 

Green, Jasper

St. Pauls Rugby (ENG)

Kruse, Isaia

Bullard Rugby

Mahe, Sione

Kahuku Rugby 

Neff, Zachary

C.K. McClatchy Lions 

Niutupuivah, Uluamu

Kahuku Rugby 

Rodriguez, Jon

Play Rugby USA

Waqavesi, Inoke

C.K. McClatchy Lions 

Wierenga, Ben

Valley Center Rugby 

Non-traveling Reserves: Will Chevalier (Neuqua Valley Wildcats), Shane Barry (Ramblin' Jesters)

2018 U.S. YOUTH OLYMPIC MEN'S RUGBY TEAM STAFF

Head Coach | JD Stephenson

Physiotherapist | Alan Wallace

SUMMER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES BUENOS AIRES 2018 SCHEDULE

October 6, 2018

Opening Ceremony | Time TBA

October 13, 2018

Rugby Sevens Pool Play | 11 AM ET

CASI La Boya Stadium

October 14, 2018

Rugby Sevens Pool Play | 11 AM ET

CASI La Boya Stadium

October 15, 2018

Finals and Victory Ceremony | 12:55 PM ET

CASI La Boya Stadium

October 18, 2018

Closing Ceremony | Time TBA

Youth Olympic Park


Rugby Rules 101: What Does "Ruck" Mean?

For new players to the game of rugby, the concept of a "ruck" can be a tricky one to apprehend, as there is no other sport that involves rucking. However, once you've got a clearer picture of a ruck, also known as a "breakdown", it's a relatively easy thing to understand. 

Premiership Rugby Eyes Mid-August Return

Following the league shutdown due to coronavirus in March, the Gallagher Premiership looks set for a return to action on August 15th. One week ago, UK government officials announced that elite-level sports would be able to resume on June 1st behind closed doors. 

The 5 Best Women's Rugby Shorts

Having a comfortable pair of rugby shorts can greatly impact one’s performance during training and games. When choosing shorts, you want to take into consideration the fit and the durability, especially if you’re going to be in the scrum. The last thing you would want is for your shorts to rip during a scrum because the fabric was not durable enough. In addition to the durability, you want to make sure the shorts are breathable and comfortable for tackling, running, and potentially kicking. If you’re in the market for a new pair of shorts, here are five different types of shorts that you can check out:

Rugby vs Soccer: Former SEC Soccer Player Compares The Two

One of the great things about rugby is that it's a multi-skilled sport which lends itself well to crossover athletes. Particularly in a sports-mad country like the United States, we see tons of players seamlessly make the transition from other sports to rugby. 

How To Throw A Great Rugby Pass

Throwing a great pass can carve up a defense unlike any other facet of the game in rugby. A well-timed, well-placed ball puts a defense under enormous pressure and causes fractures in the defensive line. As long as the ball is placed accurately, on time, and in a position that the receiver can catch the ball on the move without breaking stride, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Heck, if we're looking at football, think of Peyton Manning's passes. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game rarely threw a spiral, but he did tick the boxes of accurate, on time, and in stride. 

Some Useful Rugby Passing Drills

Here is a quick, easy passing progression that will help you and your team sharpen your distribution skills and carve opponents up on the weekends. Even the best defenses in the world cannot defend near-perfect passing, so having the ability to run-catch-pass is one of the most lethal weapons in the book. 

We Stand With You

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

Rugby Drills That Keep Your Social Distance

As of June 1st, many rugby teams have been granted the option of getting together to conduct practice. However, the practices must adhere to the six feet social distancing rules and players are not allowed to use any equipment. Therefore, options for a practice plan are going to be extremely limited, but that doesn't mean you can't still get some good out of having the team together. 

Bring Em Down: How To Tackle Big Guys In Rugby

For many of rugby players out there, especially us smaller ones, we're all too familiar with the sight of a large, rampaging big man or woman lined up across from us about to get the ball. Our fight or flight instincts kick in, and in that moment of instinctual reaction we dictate the likelihood that the tackle does or does not get made. 

Step By Step Guide: How To Break Tackles In Rugby

One of the best ways to completely unhinge a defense is to beat your defender one on one with a step or a tackle bust. While not all of us can step like Cheslin Kolbe, we do all have the ability to break a tackle and get our team on the front foot. No matter your size, speed, or strength, you can always bust out of a tackle with some clever use of footwork and a trust in your balance.