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Team USA has been hit by the injury bug and is down to only nine players for the remainder of the tournament. Cian Barry, Austin Taefu, and Tyler Sousley are not expected to return to play. Despite these challenges, the Americans put up an extremely impressive performance against France, who has looked strong throughout the entirety of the Youth Olympic Games. In a back-and-forth battle, France ended up with a 22-17 win over the Americans.
France scored during the first minute of the game on a long break to take a 5-0 lead. The United States quickly responded after the subsequent kickoff. Malcolm May took a pass off a ruck as the first receiver, split the French defense, and raced eighty meters for a try under the posts. Junior Helo converted and the United States took a 7-5 lead. The Americans looked extremely strong for the remainder of the half, until an unfortunate knock-on with no time remaining led to an unconverted French try.
Immediately after the kickoff to start the second half, Aaron Matthews made an outstanding individual effort, scoring a fifty-meter try to give the USA a 12-10 lead. France immediately answered with two tries to give them a 22-12 lead. The USA followed with an exemplary display of 7s, keeping possession for several phases until Jojo Tikoisuva touched down for the United States. The conversion was missed, leaving the United States down 22-17. With no time remaining in the match, Team USA recovered the kickoff, but attempted a kick-and-chase, which France gathered and kicked to touch to end the match.
This was certainly an admirable performance by the Americans. Despite battling injuries and bad luck, they played exceptionally well under the circumstances.
In the other pool matches Fiji fell to Argentina 21-0 and Japan narrowly defeated Kenya 27-22. Team USA will play Argentina tomorrow at 11:00 PM Eastern Time.
Match Venue: Olympic Sports Park
Game Time: 6:30 PM
Match Score: France 22 – 17 USA
#2: Sione Masoe
#6: Hanco Germishuys
#8: Vili Helu
#9: Junior Helu
#11: Aaron Matthews
#5: Malcolm May
#1: Jojo Tikoisuva
#3: Suwaiter Poch
#10: Brian Hannon
#4: Austin Taefu
#12: Cian Barry
#7: Tyler Sousley