Two straight wins in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 have positioned the USA Junior All-Americans to be just one win away from their second JWRT final appearance in four years. The team will face a winless Russia tomorrow (June 26) at 6 p.m. MDT in the final round of pool play. The match will be webcast live on KSL.com and DeseretNews.com.
USA Head Coach Scott Lawrence has made seven changes to the starting lineup from Friday’s 54-25 win over a powerful Chilean team.
The front row is changed entirely but is still very experienced and capable. Mike Te’o gets the start at hooker after making an impressive impact off the bench against Chile.
Nick Barrett will lock beside Teli Veamatahau. Barrett has started every game so far in the tournament and is a steady presence in the set piece. The loose forwards are Delaware’s Glen Thommes, Santa Clara’s Tim O’Hara, and Central Washington’s Aladdin Schirmer.
Cal Golden Bear Nick Boyer gets another start at scrumhalf having put on a clinic against Chile directing the USA defense expertly and putting in some crucial tackles.
Captain Will Magie starts at flyhalf and will have Eakalafi Okusi and Tanner Barnes in the centers. Barnes has been an absolute bone-rattling defender in midfield and has also done some good hard work with ball in hand in the JWRT.
The back three are lethal. Madison Hughes is coming off a 34-point performance against Chile. Glendale Raptor Iniki Fa’amausili and Pasefika Iosia are the wings and both have potent attacking power.
With a win, the USA will advance to the final on Saturday June 30.
USA Rugby Junior All-Americans vs. Russia
15 Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)
14 Pasefika Iosia (Belmont Shore)
13 Tanner Barnes (Central Washington)
12 Eakalafi Okusi (Cal)
11 Iniki Fa’amausili (Glendale Raptors)
10 Will Magie (Leeds University)
9 Nick Boyer (Cal)
1 Vei Tomasi (Oakland Warthog)
2 Mike Te’o (Belmont Shore)
3 Angus MacLellan (Davenport)
4 Teli Veamatahau (Metropolis)
5 Nick Barrett (Minnesota State)
6 Tim O’Hara (Santa Clara)
7 Glen Thommes (Delaware)
8 Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington)
16 Henry Hall (University of Auckland)
17 Casper Huizenga (Kutztown)
18 Cameron Falcon (Louisiana State)
19 Pierce Dargan (Trinity College – Dublin)
20 Alex Taefu (Tempe)
21 Sione Letoi (Tempe)
22 Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s College of California)
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