Boys High School All-American squad selected for Rosslyn Park

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(ISN) – BOULDER, Colo. – The USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans will leave for Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens Saturday, March 21, where Salty Thompson’s team will compete against some of the finest schools from around the world for the fourth consecutive year.

The BHSAAs prepared for Rosslyn Park at the Las Vegas Invitational in February. The British Columbia Rugby Union’s under-19 team defeated Thompson’s squad in the U19 Elite International Boys divisionFinal, a championship the BHSAAs have claimed thrice in the past five tournaments in Sin City. The Final defeat was the only blemish on their 5-1 weekend record.

Eleven of the 12 young athletes selected played for one of the two BHSAA teams at the Las Vegas Invitational, while Sim Mander – a representative on the BHSAAs’ tour to South America in 2014 – will join his teammates in London. Austin Taefu is the sole returner from the 2014 Rosslyn Park squad.

“There’s a lot of value in being part of the program in Vegas,” Thompson said. “You understand what the expectations are and how we’re going to play.”

Thompson admitted the quickness of the team in Las Vegas was found out by British Columbia. In making his selections for Rosslyn Park, Thompson took into account the BHSAAs’ opposition in Pool K of the Open Division.

“We were big and strong [at the LVI] because I really mixed in 15s-style players with sevens guys that look like they’ll have a future in sevens,” Thompson said. “This team for Rosslyn Park is a lot faster and not quite as powerful in contact. It’s a quicker team than we took last year. I think we’re going to need that.”

Cowbridge Comprehensive School, Hurstpierpoint College, Nottingham High School, and Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade will each play the BHSAAs within a four-hour timetable Thursday, March 26. The winners of each of the 16 pools – as well as the two best runners up – in the Open division will advance to the first knockout round.

The BHSAAs made it to the Round of 16 in 2012 – the best result for an American team in the competition until that time – and lost in the Plate Semifinal in 2013. Two wins, one loss, and one draw were not enough to see the BHSAAs out of the group stage last year, and the team did not compete on the second competition day for the first time.

“It’s a massive event,” Thompson said. “It’s just like a city of rugby going on. It can be overwhelming when you first see it.

“We play really good teams. There are academy teams and top schools. It’s tight.

“You want to always try to make it a positive experience and make sure that the guys take the time to enjoy it because we’re investing time and money into the program and obviously we want to get results out of the boys; we want to push them. I think, to be in London, to be in that rugby culture and see so many teams and kids your own age – I think it is pretty special. We want them to enjoy it.”

The BHSAAs’ first match against Nottingham High School kicks off Thursday, March 26, at 8:20 a.m. ET. Follow @aarugby on Twitter for updates from the team.

Boys High School All-Americans | Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens

Name (FIRST) Name (LAST) H.S. Year Height Weight (lbs.) Rugby Club Name State/Country
Malon Al-Jiboori Senior 6’3″ 225 Union High School OK
Luke Bienstock Junior 6’1″ 185 Greenwich High School CT
Chase Bixby Senior 6’6″ 207 Granite Bay Rugby CA
Adam Channel Senior 6’3″ 184 Belmont Shore CA
Christian Dyer Junior 6’2″ 185 Jesuit High School CA
Travis Heer Senior 5’11” 200 Back Bay Rugby CA
Devin Lim Senior 6’2″ 200 University City H.S. and Aztecs CA
Kyle Makaiwi Senior 5’9″ 170 Danville Oaks CA
Sim Mander Junior 6’2″ 190 St. Pauls, London UK
Aaron Matthews Senior 5’10” 185 Back Bay Rugby CA
Olan Moon White Senior 6’1″ 175 Santa Monica Rugby Club CA
Austin Taefu Senior 5’7″ 175 Tempe Rugby AZ

Boys High School All-Americans | Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens 
v Nottingham High School – Thursday, March 26 – 8:20 a.m. ET 
v Cowbridge Comprehensive School – Thursday, March 26 – 9:20 a.m. ET 
v Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade – Thursday, March 26 – 10:20 a.m. ET 
v Hurstpierpoint College – Thursday, March 26 – 11:20 a.m. ET

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