BHSAAs to play for European Championship in France

UPDATE: Stream the Boys High School All-Americans' first match against Portugal live via Rugby Europe TV.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The Rugby Europe Men’s Under 18 European Championships will welcome two North American sides to the Championship competition this summer, with the Boys High School All-Americans ranked fifth in the eight-team tournament.

Head Coach Salty Thompson has selected a traveling squad of 26 players following the Winter Camp at Casa Grande, Ariz., for the first scheduled tour of 2017 for the 1999-born under-18s. The BHSAAs will arrive in France April 6 prior to three match days in Bretagne April 7, April 11, and April 15.

“We’ll need to adjust to travel and a limited prep time,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be pretty brutal but we have to get on with it.

“When you take young boys out of an environment where they’re really comfortable and they’re put in an uncomfortable environment, it’s a real growth experience for them. It’ll set them up for their own personal growth as young men and rugby players.”

Thompson’s selected travel squad of 26 – 15 forwards and 11 backs for the 15-a-side tournament – includes eight athletes that participated in the first AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans Developmental Team (under-19) series against Canada earlier this year. Those players were unable to attend the BHSAA Winter Camp, where 16 members of the roster were picked for the tour, but each played in one or both of the under-19 games. Junior student-athlete Bailey Wilson captained the MJAA Developmental Team in both matches.

Seven BHSAAs still have eligibility remaining for under-18 representative play having worn the All-American jersey in 2016. Separate BHSAA teams traveled to British Columbia and Ontario last summer, sweeping their Canadian opposition in four games between the two coast lines. Though the makeup of the team splits high school seniors and juniors at 18-8, every player chosen has committed to the program and the requirements of international touring for several months.

“We went into Winter Camp knowing we had to get a team together pretty quickly,” Thompson said. “The players and their families have had to plan for time away from school and the cost of everything involved.

 Ed Petersen

“The boys are held accountable for fitness standards; quite a few of them are in season now or will be pretty quickly. They’ll send us updates and film of them playing. We want them to be on form and prepared.”

The BHSAAs will be able to train at Stadium Bigouden ahead of their opening-day clash with Portugal in the competition’s Championship bracket. Portugal previously defeated the BHSAAs on a 2014 tour to Europe. Depending on results, the BHSAAs will advance through the eight-team bracket to play the likes of top-seeded France, second-seeded Georgia, third-seeded Japan, and seventh-seeded Canada at Le pôle sportif de Creac’h Gwen.

“There’s a flavor to international competition that’s different than any other,” Thompson said. “Our boys are understandably very passionate about representing their country and they have to be able to control their emotions and play under pressure. Nobody’s to be underestimated in this competition because the Europeans are very eager to improve as much as we are.”

Any information related to a potential broadcast available to viewers in the United States will be released in due course. The BHSAAs will also tour Canada this summer using a squad of athletes selected from the Regional Cup Tournaments.

Boys High School All-Americans | Rugby Europe Men’s Under 18 European Championships

Name Grade Height Weight (lbs.) Position School/Club
David Ainuu Junior 5’11” 245 Tight head prop Liberty Patriots (WA)
Jeremiah Bates Senior 6’2″ 190 Lock Temecula Mountain Lions (CA)
Ben Broselle Senior 6’1″ 195 Wing Chuckanut Bay High School (WA)
Asa Carter Senior 6’3″ 215 Lock Union Hugh School (OK)
Daniel Crowley Junior 6’3″ 200 Lock Santa Monica Dolphins (CA)
William Dodds Senior 5’10” 172 Fly half Eastside Lions (WA)
Ryan James Senior 6’2″ 185 Wing San Diego Young Aztec Warriors (CA)
Garrett Kay Senior 6’2″ 205 Flanker Jesuit High School of Sacramento (CA)
Sean Lumkong Senior 6’1″ 195 Center Coastal Dragons (CA)
Gabriel Mahuinga Senior 5’9″ 207 Hooker Herriman Mustangs (UT)
Jack Manzo Senior 5’10” 200 Hooker Xavier High School (NY)
Conor McManus Junior 5’10” 165 Scrum half Fort Hunt Warriors (VA)
Ethan McVeigh Junior 5’8″ 175 Scrum half Old Mission Bay Athletic Wallabies (CA)
Matthew Meehan Senior 6’1″ 203 No. 8 Singapore American School Eagles (Singapore)
Doug Mitchell Junior 6′ 240 Loose head prop Granite Bay Grizzlies (CA)
Eric Naposki-Abdalah Senior 5’10” 170 Wing Fairfield Pegasi (CT)
Christopher Noggle Senior 6’1″ 210 Flanker Santa Barbara Stingrays (CA)
Quinn Perry Senior 6’2″ 220 Center Santa Monica Dolphins (CA)
Justin Petersen Senior 5’11” 170 Fly half Coastal Dragons (CA)
Alexander Rayton Senior 6’2″ 195 Flanker The Woodlands Youth Rugby (TX)
Joshua Schnell Senior 6’3″ 190 Lock Katy Barbarians (TX)
Kyle van Tonder Junior 5’10” 180 Full back Rocky Mountain High School Grizzly Bears (ID)
Thomas Waghorne Junior 6’1″ 230 Tight head prop Katy Barbarians (TX)
Maximillian Walding Senior 6’2″ 225 Loose head prop Old Mission Bay Athletic Wallabies (CA)
Jack Wendling Senior 6′ 212 Center Chuckanut Bay High School (WA)
Bailey Wilson Junior 6’4″ 190 No. 8 United Varsity Rugby (UT)

Boys High School All-Americans | Coaching Staff

Salty Thompson – Head Coach / Attack Coach

Cameron Frater – Forwards Coach

JD Stephenson – Defense Coach

Brendan Keane – Backs Coach

Boys High School All-Americans | Rugby Europe Men’s Under 18 European Championships

v. Portugal – Friday, April 7 @ 12:30 p.m. ET