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Samoa won the 2016 U20 Junior World Trophy beating Spain 38-32 for the top spot. This year's contest was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, with eight teams, including the USA, which finished fifth.
For the Samoans, this was the first good rugby news in many years. The formerly dominant sevens powerhouses, the overall World Rugby points winner in 2004/2005, dropped to mid pack in the World Rugby Sevens event last year, and rank ninth this current 2015/2016 season. The squad will attempt to qualify for the last (12th) remaining spot for the Rio Olympics in a repechage tournament with other non-qualifying challengers in June.
The past Rugby World Cup saw the Samoans XV finish 1-3 in a pool that also included South Africa, Scotland, Japan, and the USA. Before the RWC in England, some perceived the Samoans had a decent chance of going 3-1, losing to the Springboks, but beating the others, and advancing into the quarterfinals. But it was Japan, under the aegis of coach Eddie Jones, that emerged as the Cinderella team with the big upset of South Africa and ending 3-1, the sole loss coming against Scotland.
The USA completed the JWT event with a narrow 32-30 victory against Uruguay. This set the USA's U20 ranking at 17th, equivalent to the Men's Eagles standing of 18th.
Samoa will be promoted next year to the U20 Championship as the 12th team.