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The skills guys might be doing the talking, but they gave credit to the guys in trenches Monday.

Fullback Madison Hughes, fresh off an MVP performance for Dartmouth at the USA 7s CRC, recorded 17 of the USA U20 team’s 22 points in their 22-11 victory over Tonga. Will Magie was captain and flyhalf, and directed an effective attack that kept to the plan all day.

But both gave credit elsewhere.

“We were just more aggressive,” said Magie. “They were bigger than us, especially in the front row, and our forwards overpowered them. Our front row was outstanding.”

Attitude, heart and aggression have been big watchwords for the USA team, and they walked the walk Monday. They also made smart decisions in a very difficult opening round Junior World Trophy match, where things could easily have gotten out of hand.

“Tonga are a great side,” said Hughes. “In the first half we felt like we were on top, although we perhaps needed to take our chances a bit more. And we did a better job of that, and everything we did in the first half we did slightly better in the second half.”

Magie also praised his team’s tenacity.

“We worked and worked and worked and never took our foot off the gas; everyone worked hard,” he said. “We kept our cool and we were smart in the top six inches today.”