Canada’s men’s Under-20 team ran in seven tries as they beat the USA Under-20 46-12 in the first game of their Junior World Rugby Trophy qualifier on Tuesday evening at Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton.
Canada got tries from Matt Beukeboom, Anton Ngongo, Josh Thiel, Aidan McMullan, Fraser Hurst, Jamie McNaughton and Cole Davis while Will Kelly kicked 11 points.
“To get that first win in a two game series is huge,” Hurst said. “We’re going to come out in the second game just like the first game, play hard and get as many points as we can.”
After falling behind 5-0 inside the opening two minutes thanks to a Daemon Torres try, Canada came roaring back as Beukeboom powered over after a dominating scrum. Canada had its first lead in the ninth minute as Ngongo found space out wide after a USA defender had deflected a pass and he cruised in for a 12-5 lead.
Brothers Jake and Josh Thiel connected for Canada’s third try with Jake breaking the line before finding Josh inside for a special brotherly connection for a 19-5 lead. USA captain Malon Al-Jiboori got his side back in the game just before the break as he broke the Canadian defensive line to run in under the sticks to cut the Canadian lead to 19-12 at half time.
However, it was all Canada in the second half as McMullan got things started with a massive line break to score Canada’s fourth try before Kelly’s 51st minute pushed the lead to 29-12.
A moment of individual brilliance from Hurst had Canada’s fifth try as he danced through the USA defence before McNaughton’s intercept try and Davis’ change of pace try sealed a memorable victory for Canada.
“Getting a big lead like that going into the second test is a massive opportunity for us,” Kelly said. “We can’t switch off. Anything can still happen. They’re a good team and they showed glimpses of really good play out there. We have to re-evaluate the whole game and be switched on for Saturday.”
Canada’s Men’s U20 Roster vs. USA (Name, club, hometown):
1. Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
2. Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB
3. Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB
4. Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC
5. Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
6. Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia
7. James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB
8. Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
9. Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
10. Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON
11. Elias Ergas (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
12. Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC
13. George Barton, captain (Clermont) Duncan, BC
14. Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
15. Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC
16. Steven Ng (Capilano RFC) Ottawa, ON
17. Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
18. Nicholas Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
19. Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON
20. Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
21. William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria
22. Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
23. Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB
U20 Canada Coaching Staff:
Jeff Williams – Head Coach
Dave Butcher – Assistant Coach
Sean McDonaugh – Assistant Coach
Kiyomi Thompson – Athletic Therapist
Jeff Watson – S&C Coach
Derek Pue – Analyst
Alana Gattinger – Team Manager
Canada’s Men’s U20 Schedule:
Canada 46-12 USA — June 13 — Ellerslie Rugby Park
Canada vs. USA — June 17 — Ellerslie Rugby Park, 2pm ET/11am PT
Tries: Matt Beukeboom, Anton Ngongo, Josh Thiel, Aidan McMullan, Fraser Hurst, Jamie McNaughton, Cole Davis
Conversions: Will Kelly (4)
Penalties: Will Kelly
Tries: Daemon Torres, Malon Al-Jiboori
Conversions: Ruben De Haas