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The 26-man player pool for the U20s Feb. 13th winner-take-all match with Canada in Austin, Texas has been selected by interim head coach JD Stephenson. In total, 15 American college players, five high schoolers, four from domestic men's clubs and two from overseas were named to the traveling squad.
Stephenson called on four freshman from Lindenwood, where he is the director of rugby and head coach: Malon Al-Jiboori, Lorenzo Thomas and Chance Wenglewski from Union High School in Tulsa, Okla., as well as Deion Mikesell of Southeast Polk in Iowa.
"Familiarity of players is a bonus when designing processes and roles for individuals in the side," Stephenson said. "However, there is also the added pressure to the Lindenwood players of expectations and standards that they need to hold themselves to given they are accountable to them on a daily basis. Nevertheless, we have closely watched and have been in contact with all players in our squad, which allows for familiarity of all players."
Hooker Steven Branham, flanker Hanco Germishuys and flyhalf Ben Cima are expected to lead from the front with this talented mix of players.
The match will be played at 8:45 C.T. at Dell Diamond, a minor league baseball park, directly following the Eagles' Americas Rugby Championship clash with Canada on the same pitch. The game will be streamed by USA Rugby, with the winner earning a spot in the Junior World Trophy in Zimbabwe in April.
AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | Coaching Staff
JD Stephenson - Interim Head Coach
Justin Goonan - Strength and Conditioning & Skills Coach
Pete Borlase - Forwards Coach
James Walton - Video Analyst
Michael Engelbrecht - Backs Coach & Manager
David Fee - Skills Coach
Scott Lawrence - Technical Advisor
Kevin Battle - Skills Coach & Academy Manager
|Malon Al-Jiboori||Flanker||Lindenwood University|
|Steven Branham||Hooker||University of Arizona|
|Benjamin Cima||Fly Half||Rocky Gorge|
|Sean Coleman||Lock||University of Arizona|
|Connor Cudeback||Prop||Cal Poly State University|
|Ruben de Haas||Scrum Half||Little Rock Junior Stormers|
|Brennan Falcon||Flanker||Louisiana State University|
|William Fifita||Center||Aurora Saracens|
|Hanco Germishuys||Flanker||Glendale Raptors|
|Rodney Giles||Fullback||Henley Hawks|
|Zachary Haley||Hooker||Metropolis Rugby|
|Brian Hannon||Center||University of Arizona|
|Nick Kwasniewski||Prop||Grand Canyon University|
|Devin Lim||Center||University of California Los Angeles|
|Deion Mikesell||Wing||Lindenwood University|
|Louis Mulholland||Scrum Half||Bath University|
|Mason Pederson||Prop||University of Arizona|
|Roman Salanoa||Prop||Kahuku High School|
|Tyler Sousley||Wing||University of Arizona|
|Beuki Taumoefolau||Number 8||Las Vegas Irish|
|Bronson Teles||Lock||Katy Barbarians|
|Lorenzo Thomas||Center||Lindenwood University|
|Duncan van Schalkwyk||Fly Half||Life University|
|Joshua Warnock||Lock||Peninsula Green|
|Chance Wenglewski||Prop||Lindenwood University|
|Mitchell Wilson||Fullback||Life University|