BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American interim Head Coach JD Stephenson and his staff have selected the 26 players who will compete against Canada Feb. 13 in Austin, Texas. The fixture against Canada’s best U20s is a qualifying match for the World Rugby U20 Trophy, and includes 12 players from D1A Rugby.
Final roster selections were made after December’s four-day Winter Camp, and a second camp held at Lindenwood University, that included two scrimmages against the No.3-ranked Lions.
Arizona and Lindenwood lead the way with four players each making the squad. Included in that group is 2014 Youth Olympic Games standout and Wildcat full back Tyler Sousley.
“Both camps were highly competitive and filled with great players,” Sousley said of the team’s preparation. “All the guys helped push one another to be their absolute best. I think the boys selected have come to together really well on and off the field.”
Last year’s U20 Trophy qualifier against Canada was a two-match series – both going the way of Rugby Canada.
“I believe our team will have a solid chance at beating Canada this time around,” Sousley said. “We don’t have any weak spots in any of the positions.
“With the additional week of preparation in Texas, I believe that we will nail down our pattern, and be confident heading into our match against Canada.”
D1A players selected for MJAA roster:
Malon Al-Jiboori – Lindenwood
Steven Branham – Arizona
Sean Coleman – Arizona
Connor Cudeback – Cal Poly
Brennan Falcon – LSU
Deion Mikesell – Lindenwood
Mason Pedersen – Arizona
Tyler Sousley – Arizona
Lorenzo Thomas – Lindenwood
Duncan Van Schalkwyk – Life
Chance Wenglewski – Lindenwood
Mitchell Wilson – Life
Penn State flanker and Rugby East Player of the Year Malcolm May was selected for the U20 side, but an injury will not let him make his presence felt on the pitch.
The Feb. 13 U20 Trophy qualifier will take place following the Men’s Eagles Americas Rugby Championship fixture against Canada. The Eagles will kick at 6 p.m. CT at Austin’s Dell Diamond and can be seen live on ESPN3. Following the senior national sides, the Junior All-American contest will kickoff at 8:45 p.m. CT and will air on USA Rugby TV.
For a full list of the 26-man Junior All-American roster, visit USARugby.org.