Men's Youth Olympic Games 2018: Day One Recap

BUENOS AIRES, ARG. – The U.S. Men’s Youth Olympic Rugby team has concluded Day One of pool play at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 with a 0-1-1 record. Currently placing in fourth, the team will have another full day of pool play tomorrow, against South Africa and Japan, before facing home-team Argentina on Monday ahead of the medal rounds. All matches may be streamed LIVE on

View Group Standings Here

Match One: United States 0, France 38 

The USA Men’s Youth Olympic Rugby team began its journey at Buenos Aires 2018 with a harsh loss to France. Strong pressures from the French led to an early try in the first half, allowing USA’s opposition to capitalize on an opening lead. USA’s Inoke Waqavesi almost scored with a hard push down the field after, but he was taken down just before reaching the line. France continued to dominate the first half and scored a second try after a run downfield saw no Americans in sight. The French scored another try quickly after with a minute and 41 seconds left in the half. After a strong scrum with eight seconds to go, the French broke away to score their fourth try. Halftime helped the Americans regroup; however a turnover early in the second led to another try by France. The USA defense was better in the second half and held off the French for some time when an almost try by the United States was stopped by the referee for an illegal move. The French were able to score one last try before the end of the game to seal their win.


Match Two: United States 24, Samoa 24

After a rough first game, the Americans were ready to take on Samoa. The U.S. was able to take control early in the first half when Tyren Al-Jiboori scored the first try of the game. A great restart from the Americans — along with a penalty for a high tackle that left Samoa a man down — led to a second try for Al-Jiboori and USA. Then, a strong attack by the Samoans with no Americans in sight allowed gave USA’s opposition two back-to-back tries. It seemed as though the Samoans were dominating the game when a wide-open field left them to score their third try just before the end of the first half. However, the Americans were able to come back and bring the game to 19-24 with a try by Co-captain Inoke Waqavesi. With minutes left in the second half, a scrappy scrum and a penalty against the Samoans lead to a dangerous play before another huge try by Waqavesi tied up the game. Though the match ultimately ended in a draw, it was a much better showing for Team USA.

From Head Coach JD Stephenson

“We had a disappointing start to the day in which we didn’t trust ourselves nor the team and allowed the moment to overwhelm us. That withstanding, what we are proud of is how we responded to the challenge that the outcome of Match One presented, ensuring that we reclaimed our pride in the jersey for Match Two.

We want to continue to grow throughout this tournament and are extremely excited for the challenge that South Africa presents tomorrow.”

U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Rugby Team Roster 

1. Inoke “Junior” Waqavesi (C)
2. Alex Cleary (C)
3. Tryen Al-Jiboori 
4. Lauina Falatea
5. Zach Neff
6. Ben Wierenga
7. Jasper Green
8. Max Clark 
9. Jon Rodriguez
10. Sione “Johnny” Mahe
11. Isaia Kruse
12. Uluamu Niutupuivah 

U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Rugby Team Schedule & Results 

vs France 38-0 (L)

vs Samoa 24-24 (D)
Tries: Tryen Al-Jiboori (2), Inoke Waqavesi (2)
Conversions: Sione Mahe, Jon Rodriguez 

vs South Africa 
Sun, Oct 14 – 12:15 PM ET 

vs Japan 
Sun, Oct 14 .- 3:45 PM ET 

vs Argentina 
Mon, Oct 15 – 10:05 AM ET 

Men’s knockout rounds begin Mon, Oct 15 at 1:20 PM ET. 
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