Despite a 27-25 defeat in Game 2, Canada’s Men’s Under-20 Team has advanced to the Junior World Rugby Trophy after a 71-39 win over USA Under-20.
After winning Game 1 46-12, Canada had one foot into the Junior World Trophy, knowing the USA had to beat them by 35 points to advance. Canada got tries from Aidan McMullan, Dewald Kotze, James O'Neill and Cole Keith but were undone by a last-gasp Daemon Torres try.
"It was a tough-fought game," Anton Ngongo said. "Obviously we didn't get the score that we wanted but we now know what the taste of defeat feels like and we'll make sure not to taste it again down in Uruguay.
The USA struck first as Ruben de Haas’ penalty gave the visitors an early 3-0 lead but Canada came roaring back in the 19thminute as Keith smashed over for a 7-3 lead. Canada extended its lead only four minutes later as McMullan scored a wonderful solo try to push the advantage to 12-5 before a Will Kelly penalty pushed the lead to 15-3.
After George Barton and Harley Wheeler were both yellow carded in the 34th minute, USA got its first try through Christian Dyer but again Canada rebounded, hooker Kotze going over right before the halftime whistle for a 20-8 lead.
USA got off to a fast second half start as Peter Howard found his way over before O’Neill replied to push Canada’s lead to 25-15. But Torres stole the show late, going over in the 59th minute, he scored the game-winner two minutes from time to steal a late win.
"Qualifying was our goal and now we need to keep on working hard,” McMullan said. “It’s a dream for all of our players so it’s going to be awesome.”
The 2017 Junior World Rugby Trophy will take place in Uruguay from August 30 – September 10
Canada’s Men’s U20 Roster vs. USA (Name, club, hometown):
1. Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
2. Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB
3. Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB
4. Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC
5. Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
6. Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia
7. James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB
8. Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
9. Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
10. Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON
11. Elias Ergas (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
12. Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC
13. George Barton, captain (Clermont) Duncan, BC
14. Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
15. Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC
16. Steven Ng (Capilano RFC) Ottawa, ON
17. Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
18. Nicholas Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
19. Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON
20. Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
21. William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria
22. Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
23. Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB
U20 Canada Coaching Staff:
Jeff Williams – Head Coach
Dave Butcher – Assistant Coach
Sean McDonaugh – Assistant Coach
Kiyomi Thompson – Athletic Therapist
Jeff Watson – S&C Coach
Derek Pue – Analyst
Alana Gattinger – Team Manager
Canada’s Men’s U20 Schedule:
Canada 46-12 USA — June 13 — Ellerslie Rugby Park
Canada 25-27 USA — June 17 — Ellerslie Rugby Park