Canada U20s Win In High-Scoring Affair

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Game 1 of the two-game series between the USA and Canada Men's U20s ended on the Canadian side of the ledger, 44-33, but there's still one more game to play at Shawnigan Lake, BC.

The winner of this series will play in the World Rugby U20 Trophy competition, and lately this has been Canada's series. This year, the USA team has a talented squad and some solid planning behind it, but the Canadian team has talent, too, and has been together a little bit longer.

Canada started off stronger, exerting power in the scrum and using that to their advantage. A scrum at midfield produced a penalty for Canada and they then attacked off a lineout to set up Avery Oitoman on a snappy backline play. Scrumhalf Will Percillier missed the conversion but added a penalty some minutes later for an 8-0 lead.

The USA responded, launching a box kick from Ethan McVeigh for Ryan James to chase. But the Canadian cover just got there to knock the ball dead—potentially a penalty but instead a 22 dropout.

Canada made the dropout pay off. A very deep kick set up a lineout for the USA. But Canada stole the ball back, attacked wide again, and David Richard cut through. Percillier was good on the conversion and it was 15-0.

Percillier then showed he can run with it, too. Richard went on a big charge, and then popped off the ground for the scrumhalf to finish it off. 20-0. It wasn't until the 27th minute that the USA got on the scoreboard. With a kickable penalty in the Canadian half, captain Bailey Wilson opted for the kick to touch. From the lineout, hooker Jack Manzo got the ball at the back of the maul and peeled off to get over. Mike Weir was good with the extras.

Canada replied almost immediately with a long, winding run from Percillier. Then just before halftime, the USA forwards put on the pressure, and from a penalty McVeigh tapped quickly and stretched over. Weir's converted to make the halftime score Canada 25 USA 14.

The Comeback

The USA started well in the second half. Still playing a somewhat simple game, usually charging up after just one pass, they still asked questions of the Canadian defense. Eventually a breakthrough from lock Asa Carter set up a ruck, and fullback Sam Walsh, stepping in at first receiver, slipped through. With Weir's conversion it was now 25-21. 

And soon the USA had the lead as Weir raced in to make it 28-25.

Canada Responds

But a couple of key turnarounds scuttled hopes for the USA. The Americans had the ball on attack but a fairly unforced knock-on gave Canada a scrum. From their they got a penalty, took the lineout, and then Quinn Ngawati charged through to score. Manzo was fortunate not to exacerbate losing the lead as he interrupted the Canadian celebration with a few pushes for some unseen slight.

Nevertheless, Canada had the lead back at 32-28.

Once again, the Americans ceded momentum. With the ball and running the phases, they knocked the ball on at the base of the ruck. Canada attacked from the ensuing scrum and Ngawati saw three USA players charge him. He sidestepped them all and had a mostly free run to the corner. On the chase, Weir pulled up lame and was replaced.

After a series of phases, Canada put Gabrial Casey over to make it 44-28. The USA started to open up its attack and Wilson made a huge play, cutting back against the grain from 25 meters out to score.

The USA almost had one more. Manzo was on the charge but was brought down a meter from the line. Canada counter-rucked, won the ball, and kicked the ball dead to end the game, Canada 44 USA 33.

Another Shot

All of those tries were crucial as the series is about aggregate score. Down 11 going into Satuday's second game, the USA has shown it has the firepower to make that up. But defensively, and in the scrum, they looked vulnerable. The loss of Weir is a worry, especially in the goalkicking, but it might prompt head coach Scott Bracken to slot Junior Waqavesi into the #10 jersey, which is where he shines.

For Canada, their tight five worked very hard, and Percillier was superb.

Canada 44
Tries: Oitoman, Richard, Percillier 2, Ngawati 2, Casey
Convs: Percillier 2, Ngawati
Pens: Percillier

USA 33
Tries: Manzo, McVeigh, Walsh, Weir, Wilson
Convs: Weir 4

Canada U20s RosterUSA U20s Roster
1. Stefan Zuliani, Queens University, Ontario1. Jack WilesSt. Bonaventure
2. Jared Augustin, Queens University, Ontario2. Jack ManzoUniversity of California
3. Tyler Rowland, UBC, Ontario3. Jared MillerLife University
4. Frank Carson, UBC, BC4. Sam GollaUniversity of California
5. Tyler Duguid, Edmonton Nor’westers, Alberta5. Asa CarterArkansas State
6. Quentin James, Stade Francais, BC6. Chase JonesSaint Mary's
7. Will Matthews, Beaconsfield RC, Quebec7. Miles McCormickOMBAC/St. Augustine
8. Nick Carson, UVIC, BC8. Bailey Wilson (C)Utah Valley University
9. Will Percillier, Stade Francais, BC9. Ethan McVeighCardiff Metropolitan University
10. Brock Webster, Oshawa Vikings, Ontario10. Mike WeirDartmouth College
11. David Richard, Mississauga Blues, Ontario11. Inoke WaqavesiUSA Sevens Residency
12. Quinn Ngawati, Westshore RFC, BC12. Lauina FalateaUSA Sevens Residency
13.Gabriel Casey, UVIC, Ontario13. Jack WendlingCentral Washington
14. Jarvis Dashkewytch, UVIC, BC14. Ryan JamesSan Diego Legion
15. Avery Oitomen, Toronto Arrows, Ontario15. Sam WalshUniversity of California

16. David Carson, UBC, BC16. Braden LooperUniversity of Arizona
17. Josh Tweed, UBC, BC17. Doug MitchellCentral Washington
18. Guerschom Mukendi, Stoney Creek RC, Ontario18. Alex LopetiLife West Gladiators
19. Reid Davis, James Bay AA, BC19. Matt GelhausKutztown
20. Mason Flesch, James Bay AA, Ontario20. Chris NoggleSanta Barbara Academy
21. JT Boehme, James Bay AA, BC21. Jeff Peleseuma-BreizSFGG
22. James Biss, Saracens, England22. Cole SemuBYU
23. Thomas Isherwood, Westshore RFC, Alberta23. Jasper GreenDartmouth College
24. Siaki Vikalani, Burnaby, BC24. Will VakalahiDC Old Glory
25. Antoine de la Fontaine, Sherbrooke Abenakis, Quebec25. Luke FreemanUniversity of California
26. Austin Pinnell, Edmonton Nor’westers, Alberta26. Royce FisherSanta Barbara Academy

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