The USA bounced back from a 19-28 loss to Wales in the Bowl Quarterfinals to clear Russia by more than 20 points and fought to the last second against France in the Shield Final.
Since USA Head Coach Alexander Magleby took over in March, the team has improved, but the wins have still proven elusive.
“I wish for the boys that they could get a few more wins out of it, but the important part is building the foundation,” said Magleby.
The coach cited the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifiers in August as the targeted competition now that the Series has concluded. The outlook for that tournament looks good as parts of the USA’s game have proven lethal.
The Eagles finish the IRB tournament on 41 points and in 11th place.
The USA attack has become more potent in the last four tournaments and snappy attack and individual brilliance typified the Eagles’ London offensive campaign. Colin Hawley is playing the best sevens of his career, Shalom Suniula is growing into his role as playmaker and captain, and Zack Test is great on both sides of the ball.
Mike Palefau was a leader by example and was often the cool head for the team and exemplified a killer instinct on attack. Andrew Durutalo and Peter Tiberio were impactful when they came on and Durutalo’s power earned him a starting spot from Hong Kong onwards.
As a unit though, the Eagles’ defense has something to be desired. Looking forward, the team will address the issues and continue to improve.
The USA will look to the Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifiers this August and then begin preparations for the 2012-2013 Series that will start in the Fall of 2012.
Tries: Hawley, Palefau, Test
Cons: Enosa (2)
Tries: Smith, Thomas, Price, Walker
Cons: Walker (3), Jones
Tries: Durutalo, Palefau, Test, Edwards (2), Hawley
Cons: Enosa(3), Suniula
Tries: Ostroushko, Galinovskiy
Tries: Hawley, Durutalo
Tries: Delmas, Saubade, Laousse
Cons: Albaladejo (2)
HONG KONG — An electric Kenyan side stormed back in the second half of the Hong Kong Sevens Bowl final to edge the USA out 12-14.
A 28-14 win over Scotland in the Bowl Semifinal earlier in the day gave the Eagles momentum that they carried into the final, but they couldn’t finish Kenya off.
The first half saw the Eagles work extremely hard on defense, holding Kenyan ball-carriers up in contact and counter rucking well. Rookie Rocco Mauer got over for the Eagles first after gathering a slick flick pass from his captain, Shalom Suniula, and burning down the touch line for 60 meters. Mauer and Suniula played a key role in the next USA score stepping and bunching up Kenyan defenders on the right side of the field and then stretching them out left. Colin Hawley kept good width and depth and strolled in untouched, but worked to score under the posts.Up 12-0 at the half, the Eagles were simply outplayed in the second period. Humphrey Kayange splintered the USA defense with an excellent angled run. Suniula nearly cut him off before he got to the try line, but the tall Kenyan stretched out and scored his team’s first points of the game. Kenya pinched the ball from the Eagles to start their second scoring move. Kenyan and American bodies were piling up in the ruck and a quick pass released Willy Ambaka Ndayara for a try. With the successful conversion the Kenyans took a 14-12 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Late in the game the Eagles worked their way deep into the Kenyan half and made an aggressive call to quick tap when the Kenyans were penalized 15 meters in front of their own posts. The Eagles backed themselves to score and button the game up, but couldn’t breach the defense.
The two games in the knockout stages provided some cause for optimism, after the Eagles went 0-3 in Pool play against very powerful opponents New Zealand, South Africa and Wales. The USA plays next weekend in the Tokyo Sevens from March 31-April 1.
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.
The last two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series are approaching, and U.S. Coach Al Caravelli has opted for experience in his team selection.
The London tournament, starting May 21, is up first, followed by Edinburgh from May 28-29.
And, according to Jerrod Beckstrom of USA Rugby, a departure from the typically young team picks for the final stops of the Series (often smattered with freshly out-of-school collegiate players), the 12-player squad he has named this year is steeped in speed, experience, size and physicality.
The only player in the squad from the college ranks is Cameron Dolan, the dominant eight man for Life University’s College Premier Division side who has been on Caravelli’s radar since Dolan was an Under-17 player.
Mike Palefau and Nese Malifa are back in top form according to their coach, and their considerable experience and expertise will be an asset to the team, if in limited capacity as they transition back to international rugby. The last time Malifa was with the squad was last year in Adelaide, when the USA played in its first-ever Cup final in Adelaide after beating England, Wales and Argentina. Palefau’s last time with the team was in 2009.
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BOULDER, Colo. – The USA Men’s Sevens team departs Sunday for Hong Kong to take part in the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. The team will face pool opponents Japan, China, and England on March 25.
Head coach Al Caravelli had several spots to fill due to injury, so the Hong Kong traveling squad sees three players being added to the fold.
Two new faces, Taylor Mokate and Peter Tiberio, hail from the collegiate ranks and a seasoned veteran in international fifteens and sevens, Todd Clever, joins the team.
A University of Oklahoma star, former USA Under-20/Junior All-American captain and two time Collegiate All-American, Mokate gets an official call up to Team USA after filling in for injured players in the USA Sevens last month in Las Vegas. Mokate is a hard-charging forward that is a threat in the air and set pieces.
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