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In a rematch of the final pool play match of the Youth Olympic Games Division of the 2018 Las Vegas Invitational, Canada repeated its triumph over the USA beating the U-18 squad, 14-10. The Canadians came back from a three-point halftime deficit to shut the Americans to the last frame. With the victory, Canada has won the right to qualify for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and has to wait for the final decision.

“It was resilience and a lot of heart,” Canadian captain Jarvis Dashkewytch said. “There were some phases where they could have got us but the boys just dug deep and stuck together and played hard defense. The defense and the resilience were the two big factors.”

“I’m proud of being fearless,” he added. “Coming to the US and playing on their home field, we buckled down and did the task we needed to do to get the job done.”

On the opposite side, USA head coach JD Stephenson said, “It was a great side that we played against. For our guys, they can hold their heads high for the effort they put in. There are no excuses and I think the best side won on the day. Fair credit to a great Canadian side.”

“Once again, it was a repeat of yesterday,” Stephenson continued. “Disciplined in all areas of the game, punished us for one or two lapses and that’s what good sides will do. We wish these guys the best of luck as they hopefully head on to the Youth Olympic Games and represent North America.”

The United States gained excellent territory through Alex Cleary down the right wing. Consistent pressure in the Canada ten-meter paid off when Jasper Green crossed in the left corner for the score. The long conversion from Sione Mahe could not overcome the distance and the wind, leaving the USA up just five points three minutes into the match.

A missed tackle right after the restart opened plenty of room for Canada to run in under the posts. He easily converted his own score midway through the half. Canada kicked the following restart inside the USA twenty-two but was not quick enough in defense to keep the Americans pinned deep.

Less than a minute later, the United States was inside the Canadian twenty-two with good movement. Lauina Falatea crossed the five-meter line but came up just short. The hard work, however, was good enough to see team USA in for points mere seconds later when Mahe dove over the line just to the right of the post. Again, he was unable to connect on the much more favorable conversion opportunity.

The last restart of the half came in the final minute. Canada easily collected the uncontested restart and won a penalty shortly thereafter. The Canadians kicked to touch at midway. With the lineout coming just after the hooter, Canada easily won the throw and moved with ease into the United States twenty-two. The American defense stood tall and forced a turnover inside their own twenty-two. A knock on moments later brought the half to a close with team USA lead 10–7.

Canada took the second half kickoff but failed to make it into USA territory before ceding possession. The United States was unable to capitalize on the extended possession before Canada managed to regain control and see their player run untouched for a try under the post.

Facing a 14–10 deficit, Team USA needed to find the energy for more score to pull this one out. An opportunity on the right wing at midfield for the Americans was missed when a pass was ruled forward. But another opportunity was still on offer when team USA was awarded a scrum at midfield with thirty seconds remaining. The United States won the scrum but conceded a penalty moments later. With a mere thirteen seconds left, at that point, Canada was able to take the tap and retreat, kicking the ball into touch as the horn sounded to secure the hard-earned 14–10 result.

Speaking on the main takeaway from the tournament, Stephenson answered, “This is an area for that we can continue to grow in the youth experience within our 7s program. This program itself came together six weeks ago. To see what we can do in six weeks and be four points away from a side that’s been together since the Commonwealth Games last year, it’s very promising.”

“It’s a great takeaway for what we are doing for our youth rugby and to all of our state rugby organizations that are driving the youth game because they are the players that are putting these guys forward for us. It’s really positive for myself to know we are producing good talent and hopefully we can give them more opportunities to shine and play at this level.”

Match Details

03.03.18 Las Vegas, Nevada
Final Score