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.
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.”
It’s my privilege today to introduce you to a couple of the USA Eagles players, on this, game day for the USA Eagles at the Rugby World Cup 2011.
Colin Hawley is one of several former California Golden Bears in the USA squad. His current club is The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Colin has also played on the HSBC Sevens World Series, competing in 3 tournaments for the USA. He made his Eagle debut in 2009, and has 4 international appearances. This will be Colin’s first Rugby World Cup.
Blaine Scully started playing rugby at UCLA, before transferring to UC Berkeley in his junior year. There he was a four-time All-American, captaining the squad in 2011, recording an impressive 2-1 series win over the New Zealand Universities. In the sevens version, Blaine captained Cal at this year’s CRC 7s tournament, following a run to the finals in 2010. He has also played on the HSBC Sevens World Series, competing in 4 tournaments for the USA.
Blaine has just graduated with a degree in History, and aims to play professional rugby overseas after the RWC. He made his Eagle debut in 2011, and has 4 international appearances. This will be his first RWC.
Colin and Blaine will both feature heavily with the Eagles as they take on Ireland, Russia, Australia and Italy, in pool play. You get a sense from these interviews how much these boys love the game of rugby.
I’d also like to refer you to our Rugby blog – USRugbyNZ.com – where we have player profiles of the entire Eagles team.
Good luck to the Eagles against Ireland today. Go Eagles.
Toronto – Despite a late comeback from the Eagles, Canada held on for a 28-22 win in front of a record crowd of more than 10,000 at BMO Field. In so doing Canada retain the Can/Am Trophy. The match was aired LIVE on TSN in Canada and Universal Sports in America.
The USA produced some excellent passages of play, scoring three team tries in the process.
Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, said: “We are disappointed, it would have been great to get the win here in Toronto. We let in a couple of tries from very simple errors that really hurt us, and put ourselves under pressure. But we responded well and got back into the game,”
The Eagles will travel back to Glendale, Colorado, tomorrow for what will be a very busy week. The USA Select XV will play the Glendale Raptors on Wednesday August 10 at Infinity Park. Then on Saturday, August 13, the Eagles will take on Canada at the same venue, with kick-off at 7.15 P.M. This match will be broadcast LIVE – both online and on television – through Universal Sports.
“There were plenty of positives against Canada. Our scrum was very solid and our line-out fired well for the most part. We scored some good tries, and with more time together, the team cohesiveness will only improve. We have one week to fine tune things before the return match,” said O’Sullivan.
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By Kyle Jones
USA gives up early lead to give Canada the win.
Canada 28 USA 22
“Disappointment” has to be the one thing on everyone’s mind after a stunning defeat by Canada today. A confusing start allowed Canada to score unscathed in the 6th minute after a bizarre call that would only set the tone for what was to come. USA overcame some poor kicks by Nese Malifa with two daring tries in the first half.
The fiirst came from Takudzwa Ngwenya after a brilliant pass from Todd Clever. Canada continued with penalties, providing Nese Malifa more opportunities to make good on penalty kicks, yet he failed to convert. Clever took things into his own hands and capitalized on Canada’s weakness: Line Outs. He intercepted one late in the first half, instantly converting it into a try and putting the Eagles up 15-7. The tide would begin to shift just before the half, with USA giving up senseless penalties as well, providing Canada with a penalty kick. The half ended USA 15-10 Canada.
Before you could say, “Bob’s your Uncle” the Eagles did the unthinkable. Nese Malifa dropped a pass back in his own red zone, providing Canada with an instant try and a two-point lead. The Eagles never went back in front.
Canada showed their physical dominance and ability to last the full 80 minutes by pounding out more penalty points and one more try with a quick phase out of an overpowering scrum. The score would climb to 25-15 before USA would even come close to another chance at goal. It would take Tim Usasz, the scrumhalf, to breathe direction and life into a fatigued USA offense. He would get them within meters of a try not once, but twice before Clever would bring it home off a flashy pass from Inaki Basauri.
But their missed opportunities to score just moments earlier cost them precious time and would not allow them to mount another attack before the game was over. With just 1 minute to go, Canada put up its final penalty kick to put the Eagles out of reach. The clock would wind down and USA would squander a first-half lead and hand a close win to Canada.
This game could have gone either way, with both teams playing very different halves. USA dominated possession early, but Canada clearly took advantage of the penalty calls and the fatigue of the USA Eagles.
Some things to watch out for next week at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo.: USA Eagles fixing those poor kicks and maintaining their endurance throughout the match; Canada looking to desperately fix their lineout turnovers and maintaining possession. It should be another exciting match, which will hopefully come out in our favor. Stay tuned for details on tickets and live coverage.
Full Game Replay: Here
Video Highlights: Here