The Collegiate All Americans lost 30-23 to the Wairapa Bush men's team on their second tour match in New Zealand.
Wairapa Bush was certainly
the stronger team in the first half. While both squads had about equal territory and possession, the hosts finished their opportunities, and the All Americans could not. At halftime, Wairapa Bush led 24-3.
Worse than that, game day captain and flyhalf Colton Cariaga broke his arm making a tackle in the 19th minute. He stayed on for several minutes before the extent of his injury was clear and he left the game. The Life University standout is out for the remainder of the tour - it is unclear how much more.
Somewhat shaken, the All Americans, already down 5-0, gave up a try on that play, and two more in the first half.
In the second half, the All Americans mounted a comeback. BYU flanker Kyle Sumsion capped off a sustained period of pressure with a try to make it 24-10. Jake Anderson kicked his second penalty goal to edge the squad a shade closer.
Then some superb chasing on a kick thanks to prop Paris Hollis - who is having a superb spring - and Cal wing Josh Tucker, forced another penalty, which Anderson put over to make it 24-16.
At 73 minutes, the All Americans kept up the pressure and punched it in, with Utah forward John Cullen doing the honors. Anderson converted to put his side within a point at 24-23.
That was as close as they could get, as a penalty for holding onto the ball gave Wairapa Bush a penalty at midfield, that they kicked over, and another ruck penalty with time up gave away points, as well. Wairapa Bush 30-, All Americans 23.
For the All Americans, Hollis has several impressive moments, while Kyle Sumsion was, said Head Coach Matt Sherman, the best player on the field.
UW-Whitewater lock Ben Landry played well before having to come off, and Cullen, still getting the hang of the game, was a massive physical presence in the second row.
"While the score may look like it, I don't think this was a tale of two completely different halves," said Sherman. "We did some good things in the first half, and in general I thought possession, territory, and opportunities were relatively equal. We just weren't able to finish while they were."
In the second half, however, the All Americans did improve in the contact area, slowing down Wairapa's ball and speeding up their own.
"While we came up short at the end, I'm proud of the guys and how well they came together and battled back against a tough opponent when things weren't going our way," said Sherman. "We need to take that cultural identity of being a mentally tough team into our final game with NZ Universities, and we feel that if we do that, along with improving in some targeted performance areas, we can earn a tough victory over a good side on New Zealand soil. We're excited about that challenging opportunity."
All Americans 23 Wairapa Bush 30
Tries: Sumsion, Cullen
Convs: Anderson 2
Pens: Anderson 3
1. Paris Hollis (Life) (Glen Maricelli, Life at 67), 2. Gabriel Sochanek (Davenport) (Michael Shepherd, Utah at 46), 3. Eric Parson (Cal Poly) (Angus MacLellan, Davenport at 62), 4. Ben Landry (UW-Whitewater) (Danny Barrett, Cal at 35), 5. John Cullen (Utah), 6. Kyle Sumsion (BYU), 7. Jordan Badia-Bellinger (Claremont Colleges), 8. Shaun Potgeiter (Arkansas State) (Ryan Roundy, BYU at 52), 9. Randy Pati (Utah) (Jake McFadden, Life at 58), 10. Colton Cariaga (Life) (JP Eloff, Davenport at 27), 11. Tim Maupin (St. Mary’s) (Zach Mizell, Arkansas State at 60), 12. Michael Haley (St. Mary’s), 13. Stephen Tomasin (San Diego State, 14. Josh Tucker (Cal), 15. Jake Anderson (Cal)