All was well as we departed, but when we arrived in Honolulu it became apparent that Darryl and I had left an important piece of paper back home in New Zealand. The customs lady was not particularly interested in letting us into the country.
After about an hour or so, we convinced her that the visa in our passport was enough to let us in and that we were there on official business.
After our little holdup, it was off to some great accommodation at Turtle Bay condos.
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
The votes are in, the teams chosen.
The USA Single Ladies, consisting of Gabrielle Stewart, Acushla Dee O’Carroll and Mahina-a-rangi Baker, won the vote to become the cheerleading squad for the American team during the 2011 Sevens tournament in Wellington.
The three ladies filmed a video around Wellington and the submitted it for online voting. Their video is based on a Beyonce song. In fact, on their video, the ladies refer to themselves as Gayonce, Deeonce, and Mayonce.
They were trying out to represent the USA team and were successful. The Single Ladies were one of 45 acts that took part in the voting for the great celebration that is The Sevens tournament in Wellington. You can watch their video entry on our earlier blog post.
You can read about their reactions in this wonderful Dominion-Post article here: Sevens-single-ladies-set-to-fire-things-up
Everyone here at RugbyUSA offers hearty congratulations to The Single Ladies and hopes they have a blast in February. Maybe they can do something just as good with The Eagles in RWC 2011. Best of luck.
GEORGE, South Africa- There is no such thing as an easy pool in the HSBC Sevens World Series, but there is definitely a particularly difficult one, and that is what the USA team found out when they squared-off with Pool B opponents Samoa and Fiji. But flashes of brilliance and determined grit landed the Eagles in the Emirates Airline South Africa 7s Bowl quarterfinals against France.
Unfortunately, that’s as far as it went for the U.S. The next day they lost to both France and Zimbabwe by the identical scores of 19-17.
The Eagles didn’t take a backwards step in the opening match against defending world champions Samoa. Instead, the Eagles scored after 25 seconds through East Palo Alto center, Mile Pulu. Two minutes later Eagle skipper, Matt Hawkins, led by example and dotted down another score, leaving Samoa scratching their collective head and finding themselves down ten points early.
The Samoans answered back before halftime and carried the momentum through the first five minutes of the second half, scoring four unanswered tries. It was USA newbies Nu’u Punimata and Miles Craigwell who brought the USA within three points of the biggest upset of the South Africa 7s. The two crossover athletes heeded USA Head Coach Al Caravelli’s favorite mantra “Empty the Tank” and throttled their way to two USA tries late in the match. In the end, missed conversions cost the USA the game, with a final score of 24-22.
Scrumhalf Shalom Suniula’s phenomenal handling skill and Craigwell’s physicality in the Samoa match garnered the attention of the commentators with a nice finish by Punimata. The Eagles earned a “Play of the Day” highlight produced by the IRB (http://tinyurl.com/2cz3gox).
After emptying the tank against one island giant, the Eagles were in Fiji’s sights for the USA’s second pool matchup of day one. Pulu struck for the USA early, scoring the only American points of the match after only 17 seconds of play. Knock ons and missed tackles sealed the fate of the Americans and the match ended with a lopsided 43-5 score line in favor of Fiji.
A loss is a loss, but the Eagles played Samoa tough and had real flashes of brilliance against excellent competition, showing the promise of this young Eagles team. The USA also hung with rugby powerhouse New Zealand in what started out as a close match last weekend in Dubai. With every tournament, the young squad is getting better and more experienced, an asset for the USA in both the near and short terms.
PULU POWERS ON
Rugby sevens is the ultimate team sport, but when a player is on a streak like Mile Pulu is on, it’s definitely worth noting. Pulu has scored seven tries so far in the Sevens World Series, with at least one try in every game. It’s safe to say Caravelli is glad Mile came along with the USA for the first two stops of the Series.
- Jarrod Beckstrom, USA RUGBY
For those who think American Rugby is in its infancy, consider this: 100 years ago a team of Collegiate All-Americans toured Australia and New Zealand. Considering how hard it was to get here back then, that’s a somewhat epic tour.
Wanting to make the long journey worthwhile, the 1910 side played more than 20 matches against competition such as a New South Wales representative side, an Auckland representative side, and the first-ever all Maori rugby team which was established only a year before the All-Americans.
While the Eagles did not win a game at the last World Cup, hosted by France in 2007, they did win the war of the highlight reel and unearthed a superstar, someone spoken of with respect in New Zealand Rugby circles: Takudzwa Ngwenya.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Ngwenya moved to Plano, Texas, when he was in High School and quickly moved up the ranks of Rugby there, eventually making the Eagles U-19 team.
The 2007 World Cup draw did not do the Americans any favors. They found themselves in a Pool with defending World Champions, England, and the eventual 2007 Cup winners, South Africa, as well as Tonga and Samoa, who are not to be sniffed at in the Rugby world. While they lost every game, they played well, especially against the teams not called South Africa.
During the course of a pretty sound drubbing at the hands of the Springboks, though, the Americans intercepted the ball just about at their own tryline and moved it quickly upfield in a lightning counterattack. A long pass was received by Ngwenya and he took off. He had just one man to beat. Unfortunately, that man was Bryan Habana, then widely accepted as the fastest winger in the world.
Not that day, he wasn’t. Ngwenya left him in the dust. Ran around him. Smoked him. And scored under the posts.
While the try didn’t have any impact on the result, it was voted as “The try of the tournament,” and has gone down in Rugby lore. As it should. It was a gem.
You can watch it here:
Ngwenya plays professionally for Biarritz in France and is expected to make a return to the World Cup in 2011.
The NZI Sevens website is currently running a competition to find cheerleaders to represent the 16 2011 NZI Sevens teams. Below is the entry for the USA Sevens team - the USA Single Ladies from Wellington, New Zealand. Vote for them here, but hurry voting closes on December 14.
DUBAI – USA Men’s Sevens lost its two second round games at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in the United Arab Emirates, but coach Al Caravelli is happy with the way his team is finding its shape.
Having advanced to the quarter finals of the first tournament of eight in the renamed HSBC Sevens World Series, USA earned their first log points, something that had taken them four tournaments last year.
“We played some good rugby and because of our recent history with Hong Kong I’d give our participation here a pass,” said Caravelli.
“We want to finish in the top ten and these six points are a good start.”