Junior All-Americans qualify for U20 Trophy with help from D1A

D1A Rugby: Junior All-Americans qualify for U20 Trophy with help from D1A
Photo Credit: Travis Prior

BOULDER, Colo. – The Men’s Junior All-Americans helped earned USA Rugby a two-match sweep of Canada Feb. 13 in Austin, Texas.

Following the Men’s Eagles 30-22 win over its rival from the north, the best U20s in America defeated its Canadian counterparts on a last-second penalty kick by fly half Ben Cima.

Twelve of D1A Rugby’s finest young players were selected to the 26-man traveling squad. Of the dozen D1A players, nine of them earned a spot in the MJAA’s stating XV: Malon Al-Jiboori (Lindenwood), Steven Branham (Arizona), Sean Coleman (Arizona), Connor Cudeback (Cal Poly), Brennan Falcon (LSU), Deion Mikesell (Lindenwood), Tyler Sousley (Arizona), Lorenzo Thomas (Lindenwood) and Mitchell Wilson (Life).

The reserves included Chance Wenglewski (Lindenwood) and Mason Pedersen (Arizona), while Life University utility back Duncan Van Schalkwyk did not suit up.

“We couldn’t have picked a better group to represent the U.S.,” said Lindenwood Director of Rugby and MJAA Interim Head Coach JD Stephenson. “We couldn’t have picked a better group of guys for what it stands for and who have pride in that jersey. It’s just awesome.”

Cima’s deep three-pointer on the match’s final play not only gave USA the win, but qualified the team for the 2016 World Rugby U20 Trophy competition in Zimbabwe during April.

“We’ll break down the film and discuss the building blocks as we build towards the U20 Trophy now,” Stephenson said. “This is just step one of our journey, and on to the next.”