GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Team USA finished its Pan American Games debut in rugby sevens with a bronze medal victory, 21-17, against Uruguay on Sunday, the final day of the Games.
They qualified into the bronze medal game after defeating Guyana, 24-12, in the quarterfinal and suffering a, 21-19, loss to Canada in the semifinal. The U.S. finished with an overall record of 2-2-1.
“Everything they do is a continuous improvement,” said head coach Al Caravelli in regard to the team’s Pan Ams performance. “For us, everything is a journey toward 2016. Every step of the way, the goal is to play better than the game before.”
The USA Men’s Sevens team will begin the HSBC Sevens World Series this November in Gold Coast Australia, the first of the nine-tournament Series.
- USA Rugby
With ninety seconds to go, the USA Sevens looked like they were heading to the gold medal game of the inaugural Pan-Am games Rugby Sevens tournament.
But Canada had other thoughts, scoring on the last play of the game to send the Eagles to the third-place game by a score of 21-19.
That hurts. A lot.
The USA Sevens team will have the chance for a bit of redemption after moving into the semi-finals of the 2011 Pan-Am games.
There they will face Canda, who beat them in the pool play stage of the tournament. One win, and the Eagles are guaranteed a medal. Still, Canada put a bit of a hurting on the U.S. in their first game and it will be a tough ask.
The U.S. made it to the semi-final game by beating Guyana 24-12. The game shouldn’t have been that close, but the U.S. team did not capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes and left them in the game too long.
U.S. tries were scored by Maka Unufe, Blaine Scully, Folau Niua, Rocco Mauer.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It was the most mixed of bags for the USA Eagles, as they notched up a win, a tie, and a loss on the first day of the 2011 Pan-American Games.
This means the Eagles Sevens will proceed out of pool play as the second seed and will face Guyana in the quarterfinals.
First day play saw the U.S. team beat Chile, tie Brazil and go down to Canada, despite leading at half-time.
- USA Rugby
While living in southern California I have followed rugby pretty closely and have befriended many current and former players. I have grown to respect everything that it stands for, let alone I just love the majestic brutality of the sport. As it stands rugby is not just a sport but also the world’s greatest fraternity where the team concept reigns supreme over any individual’s personal agenda.
The heart and soul of rugby is playing for your brothers. The antics of Ocho and TO would never stand a chance, as there is no tolerance for individualism.
What the NFL can learn from Rugby
USA Rugby Captain Todd Clever has skills that could allow him to compete in the NFL.
An intimate atmosphere: While I was in London this past week for the Bears vs Bucs game, I attended an English Premiership League match featuring the Saracens and the Exeter Chiefs. The Saracens, one of England’s legendary clubs founded in 1876, whipped up on the Chiefs 43 to 20. Sitting with the Saracens fans was like sitting with the family of the players. There is a unique dedication, intimacy and loyalty that differ from how NFL fans support their team. I’m not saying one is better than the other, just different. For instance, when a rugby club has a losing season there is more sympathy, compassion and understanding versus the sharp criticism that we see in the NFL. The two sports do carry some similarities on the field but differ greatly in the locker room and in the stands.
Adopt-a-second-team programs were also highly successful, ensuring that smaller rugby nations like Namibia and Georgia received strong support for their games. Whole communities adopted teams, decking their towns out in the colors of their adoptees. The USA Eagles received tremendous support during their time in New Zealand, with many Kiwis dressing up in red, white and blue and waving the Stars & Stripes with gusto. When the Eagles played Australia, the Dominion Post estimated that 75 percent of the crowd was cheering for the United States.
By USA Rugby - The 12-man rugby sevens squad heading to Guadalajara, Mexico will be engrained with a mantra that will help it maintain focus in the quadrennial tournament: ‘Play in the moment.’
“Playing in the moment helps every athlete and staff member focus on the task at hand. Not to get distracted by the environment, from peripheral things we don’t have control over,” said USA Head Coach, Al Caravelli. “If we take care of the little things the big things take care of themselves.”
That mentality will be put into practice on the field on October 29 when the team will see Brazil, Chile, and rivals Canada in pool play. Their record from the first day will determine which teams they will face in the playoffs on October 30. The other pool consists of Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, and Guyana.
Caravelli continued to say that the Pan-Am environment itself can be distracting, but the players must maintain focus. As part of United States Olympic Committee and the guild of athletes and sports under the Team USA moniker, the USA Men’s Eagle Sevens team will compete in its first Olympic-style rugby sevens tournament. The Pan Am Games take place every four years and will serve as an Americas preview of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“You can imagine that in a multisport event with over 2,000 athletes, we have to be prepared for anything and everything to be thrown at us. On the field of play, we will not take anyone lightly. Every game we play, we’ll have the attitude that it is a final, the players have embraced this and are executing.”
We were thrilled to see our friend Bob Latham accecpt the International Rugby Board’s Developmental Award. The high-prestige award was given for USA Rugby’s youth program, known as Rookie Rugby. Latham, who was a great friend to our Rugby outreach program during the USA Eagles’ run in the Rugby World Cup, was given the award at Monday’s high profile IRB award ceremony in Auckland, an event that featured the glitterati of international rugby.
Below is USA Rugby’s press release about the award, but we wanted to be the first to offer our congratulations. U.S. Embassy Wellington.
Union vice-chairman, Bob Latham, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of USA Rugby at the star-studded IRB Awards Ceremony on Sunday October 23 in Auckland, just one day after the New Zealand All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup there.
On the same night that the IRB announced the Player of the Year (Thierry Dusautoir, France), Team of the Year (New Zealand All Blacks), and inducted rugby legends Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) and South African rugby legend Francois Pienaar (who was portrayed by Matt Damon in the 2009 blockbuster, Invictus) into the Rugby Hall of Fame, the IRB gave a nod to the growth of the youth game with the Development Award.
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This is a great little story about the benefits of rugby that some youngsters in America are discovering. Play Rugby USA is doing such a great job spreading the joy of rugby.
“Before I did rugby, I didn’t have enough energy to write and I used to get tired, but after rugby it was fun and I just started doing my work and since I got my progress report the grades got better,” one student said.
The New York Times’ George Vecsey does a nice little post-mortem of sorts on the USA Eagles’ Rugby World Cup tournament by speaking with our scrumhalf, Mike Petri. Like most of Vecsey’s stuff, it’s worth a read.
Petri, a licensed stockbroker, was in the thick of the wonderful madness that is the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Now he’s back in his quiet life, New Zealand and the tournament a long way behind him.