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The USA High School All Americans U17s almost shocked the England South age-grade team at the Wellington International Festival Friday in England.

Photos Ian Muir

The HSAA team led only once in the match, 7-5 in the opening minutes, although they were as close as 20-18 in the second half. But a late yellow card allowed England South some cushion, and the American comeback fell just short - 32-25 was the final score.

England South took an early 5-0, but that was erased when Brendan Cleary, who is in the Newcastle Falcons system, raced over for a try that Gonzaga's Ben Cima converted for a 7-5 HSAA lead.

A penalty and a try put England South up 13-7, before Cima edged his team closer with a penalty. Another South try made it 20-10 with halftime looming, but Joeli Tikoisuva of the Islanders HS club in Sacramento scored to make it 20-15 at halftime.

Cima's penalty in the second half made it a two-point game, but the yellow card then put the HSAA team down a man, and during that time England South extended their lead, ultimately taking a 32-18 advantage into the final minutes.

The Americans edged closer with captain Hanco Germishuys of Westside HS in Omaha, Neb. scoring. Cima's conversion put the HSAA team within a try, but they got no closer.

That concludes the Wellington Festival for HSAA team, as they lost to Wales U16s, beat Belgium U17s, and lost to England South U16s.

HSAA U17s 25
Tries: Cleary, Tikoisuva, Germishuys
Convs: Cima 2
Pens: Cima 2

England South U16s 31