June 5, 2024

USA Rugby U20s: A Global Pipeline of Talent

The USA Rugby U20s program is a melting pot of international experience, with players hailing from various backgrounds but united by their American eligibility and passion for the sport.

High school, college, and Major League Rugby all pop up in the players' histories, but you'll also see schools, universities, and professional clubs from overseas produce players for the USA pipeline.

Here's a look at some intriguing stories within the current squad (photos USA Rugby):

Braemar Murray: From European Academies to the MLR

Born in England to a Chicagoan mother, Braemar Murray has a rich rugby history. Playing since childhood, he honed his skills at Sedbergh School and trained with prestigious European academies like Stade Toulousain and Newcastle Falcons. An interesting twist—Braemar wasn't entirely sure how he landed on USA Rugby's radar, but his talent spoke volumes. Identified through the USA Rugby player identification portal, Brendan Keane, the USA Rugby Pathways Manager, saw his potential and invited him to a U18s camp in 2022. Now, after progressing through the U20s system, Murray is playing full time in the US with Anthem Rugby Carolina in Major League Rugby.

Corbin Smith: Homegrown Talent Takes Flight

Corbin Smith's story exemplifies the strength of USA Rugby's development programs. Hailing from Connecticut, he started playing at the age of 7. His talent caught the eye of the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy and he played and toured with EIRA before being called up to the USA U18s when they played in the Corendon Summer Tour tournament in the Netherlands.

His performance impressed enough for Hartpury University in England to be interested and he is now attending one of the top rugby universities in the UK.

Oliver "Ollie" Cline: Crossing the Tasman Sea for Opportunity

Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Ollie Cline exemplifies the increasingly global nature of rugby. With an American mother, he holds a U.S. passport and seized the opportunity presented by D1A program Central Washington University to play for the Wildcats.

He remains a standout for them and his abilities didn't go unnoticed by USA Rugby. He joined the U20s last year, at 18, and is now a key player for the program..

Graeme Pedegana: South African Roots, American Dreams

Graeme Pedegana's journey is unique. Born in the UK and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Pedengana was identified by the Anthem coaches and staff after playing in French academies. With an American father he qualifies for the USA.

Pedegana is embracing life in Charlotte as he recovers from injury so isn't with the team in BC. But keep an eye out for him as he may be a part of the U20s contingent if they qualify to go to Scotland.

Keelan Farrell: From Sevens Star to 15s Prospect

Keelan Farrell, born and raised in England to American parents, brings a different perspective. He followed in the footsteps of fellow Americans Madison Hughes and Carlin Isles by playing for the Shogun Rugby Football Club. His talent was recognized at the Men's Sevens Development Camp in Chula Vista last year, and he's transitioned to the 15s format with the U20s this year. He currently plays with Esher Rugby Club in England.

These are just a few examples of the diverse backgrounds of some of these exciting players within the USA Rugby U20s program. Their journeys highlight the expanding global reach of rugby and the work USA Rugby is doing to find the best talent, regardless of origin.

More News

June 7, 2024

USA complete World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024 line-up

Read Now
June 6, 2024

Men’s U20s rematch with Canada for second round of Trophy qualifier

Read Now
June 4, 2024

USA top Canada in round one of Men's U20s Trophy Qualifier

Read Now