Leicester, England – The Collegiate All-Americans finished their tour with a tough loss in their last match to Leicester Academy, with a final score of 12-43.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the 9th minute thanks to to an offsides call and with the successful penalty attempt Leicester was up by three points. They would go on to score from a five-meter scrum and slot a conversion bringing their early tally to 10-0.
The All-Americans had a chance to get some points back. From lineout 30 meters out, they went through two phases and breached the Leicester line. However, they knocked the ball on in the try zone. Leicester scored another try in the 21st minute, bringing the score to 17-0.
Leicester continued the attack and was awarded a five-meter scrum for an All-American infraction. Leicester put up a high cross-kick which was gathered and touched down for another five points. Leicester was then up 22-0.
The All-American forwards helped their side get on the board before halftime as Chris Parker, the blindside flanker from Texas A&M, was driven over in a maul which brought the halftime score to 22-5.
The second half would see Leicester continue to score and would see a bit of frustration seeping into of the All-Americans’ play. Try-scorer Chris Parker was yellow-carded for losing his feet at the breakdown and the All-Americans would be down a man for ten minutes.
Leicester took advantager and scored again through the centers, 36-5. While the odds were stacked against them, the All-Americans certainly weren’t going to go without a fight.
Alex Ross from San Diego State picked off a Leicester pass and would take it in for an All-American try. With the score at 36-12, the All-Americans still had work to do. They would cross the try line again, only to have it held up. Throughout the match, the All-Americans crossed the line three times without scoring.
Leicester would continue pounding away and scored another converted try, putting 31 points between them and the All-Americans. 43-12.
After the match, Coach Alex Magleby said, “We came here to play the best rugby we could possibly play and we didn’t do that today.”
“The guys played at a level they have never experienced before,” Magleby said, “Now, they need to choose how to respond to that with their work off the field. They need to ask themselves, ‘Am I willing to do the work? Do I have what it takes to play at the highest level?’”
Magleby’s recognizes the gap between the UK and American systems. “The [American] system is perfectly designed to get the results we get.” While Magleby realizes the inherent differences between American and British rugby, he knows that if the United States wants to be able to compete with sides like Leicester and Saracens, progress and development of the game is critically important.
While frustrated with the team’s performance, Magleby did see some things that went well, and noting that the forwards’ mauling skills were excellent, although not able to be as effective due to questionable refereeing.
“There were a handful of bright spots, some positives,” said Magleby.
One such positive, in a macro perspective, is that 21 of his squad will return to their collegiate ranks, bringing with them experience at an extremely high level. They will share their experience and, ideally, exhibit the dedication necessary to elevate the level of rugby on the collegiate level.
The All-Americans will return to the States tomorrow, having continued the century-old All-American rugby tradition proudly and having played with grit and dedication.
All Americans 12
Tries: Parker, Ross
Leicester Tigers Academy 43
Tries: Clare, Bazely, Simpson, Lewington, Cobden, Other
Convs: Ford 5