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
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.”