WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Despite an incredible effort in the first half, the USA Women’s Junior All-Americans were overcome 17-43 by clever set-piece play and skillful kicking from England’s U20s in their final match of the U20 Women’s Tri-Nations Cup.
After a valiant effort saw them score two back-to-back tries to tie the game, the All-Americans had trouble responding to England’s sharp defense. Strong runs were interrupted by forced turnovers, disrupting the momentum and consistency the USA had built well into the game.
United States’ Mata Hingano and Finau Tamaivena both displayed brilliant performances, making precise offloads and breaking open to pressure the English side. Kayla Cannett’s dummy passes and quick dashes equally stunned the opposing defense and gave the U.S. a confidence that carried them through the first half of play.
“We were really happy with the first half performance, we played with real intent and purpose,” said Head Coach James English. “A week of preparation gave us time to really invest in the players, they got a great feel for our principles of play and had some time to get to know each other and work in combinations.”
Though England opened by taking the first points of the game, the All-Americans bounced back with an offload from Captain Mata Hingano to Finau Tamaivena for Taimaivena to push her way across and win the points, 5-10. Kicking and set piece play was the name of the game through the majority of the half with England taking the advantage and dominating possession.
The English side made another confident play to bring themselves up 5-17, before USA’s Hingano broke free to gain considerable ground before falling to touch. Finau Tamaivena came right in behind her, pushing the ball over the line and making it 10-17.
Hingano would get a monster try of her own minutes later and the United States was back in it with a tie game.
England increased their lead to 17-24 just before halftime, after which play resumed and fatigue took over both sides. Penalties filled the first several minutes with possession bouncing from team to team and each threatening to score on the other.
“England did a good job tightening up the game and really choked us,” said English. “They did a great job of disrupting and slowing down our ball at the breakdown, set piece is an area we know we need to improve. They have a lot of players who play senior rugby and their ability to control the game became evident as it went on.”
Despite the lack of momentum on the scoreboard, England owned the match with skillful kicking and forced turnovers that made it impossible for USA to capitalize on many open space runs.
The All-Americans would continue to fight for space, possession and opportunities despite losing Tiana A’au to a yellow card on a collapsed scrum. USA’s challenges at proved even more costly after another breakdown at the scrum allowed England to win a penalty try and increase their lead 17-31.
Three more promising runs by Finau Tamaivena, Lauren Thunen and Kayla Cannett would be denied by forced turnovers from the English side. Space would open for the opposition to score two more tries, 17-43, when the All-Americans took one last encouraging attempt before the final whistle.
Though they didn’t walk away with a win, the Women’s Junior All-Americans delivered a well-improved performance in their second game of the Tri-Nations Cup. As the program continues towards is goal of building future national team players through the All-American pathway, international competition will continue to be an invaluable development experience.
WOMEN’S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS ROSTER | vs ENGLAND U20S | TRI-NATIONS CUP
|1. A’au, Tiana||Central Washington University|
|2. Arena, Destiny||Lindenwood University|
|3. A’au, Tiara||Central Washington University|
|4. Strong, McKenna||Lindenwood University|
|5. Thunen, Lauren||University of California Santa Barbara|
|6. Wilson, Elizabeth||Northern Virginia Rugby (NOVA)|
|7. Freeman, Morgan||Ft. Miami Rugby|
|8. Tamaivena, Finau||Seattle Saracens|
|9. Ortiz, Olivia||Davenport University|
|10. Pasioles, Mary Jane||Central Washington University|
|11. Sedrick, Alexandria||Life University|
|12. Hingano, Mata (C)||Utah Valley University|
|13. Henrich, Emily||Orchard Park Rugby (HS)|
|14. Bargell, Cassidy||Summit Rugby (HS)|
|15. Canett, Kayla (VC)||Penn State University|
|16. Fromstein, Elisha||Penn State University|
|17. Tuilaepa, Penina||Lindenwood University|
|18. Manu, Isabel||Lindenwood University|
|19. Tancredi, Samantha||North Bay Rugby (HS)|
|20. Jones, Tori||University of Notre Dame|
|21. Gray, Natalie||Lindenwood University|
|22. Cervinski, Sydnee||Life University|
WOMEN’S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS U20 WOMEN’S TRI-NATIONS CUP STAFF
Head Coach – James English
Coach – Rob Cain (Head Coach of Women’s National Team)
Coach – Kate Daley
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Ian Jones
Athletic Trainer – Katherine Henry
WOMEN’S JUNIOR ALL-AMERICANS U20 TRI-NATIONS CUP RESULTS
vs Canada U20s | 36-12 (L)
vs England U20s | 17-43 (L)