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)
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.”
By Jarrod Beckstrom, USA Rugby
STANFORD, Calif. – The USA Men’s Collegiate All-Americans fell three points shy (20-23) of a three-game sweep of the New Zealand Universities on Saturday at Steuber Rugby Stadium on the campus of Stanford University.
The All-Americans defeated the touring team 60-17 in the opening match of the tour last Saturday and 21-11 in the second on Wednesday. However in the final encounter, New Zealand played a very physical and opportunistic brand of rugby to win.
Big Dartmouth lock, Nate Brakeley, opened the scoring with a try in the opening five minutes and the Americans were off with a bang. They extended their lead through a JP Eloff penalty.
New Zealand answered back with a score and so it would go for the rest of the game, an American score and a response from the New Zealanders by try or by penalty.
Kyle Grossheider (Life University) scored next for the All-Americans, but the New Zealand Universities outside center scooted over for a try to answer back and the scores were 15-14, the hosts with a slight lead.
The second in the three-game series was much closer. This time the Collegiate All-Americans won 21-11 against New Zealand Universities, but were trailing at half time. Had it not been for a couple of key New Zealand mistakes, the game could have gone the other way.
The 60-17 thrashing the Kiwis suffered in the first game was obviously bothering them. There was a bit of post-haka pushing and shoving going on, as the Kiwis really got in the faces of the All-Americans.
Still, the game started slowly, with an exchange of goals – JP Eloff scored a drop goal for the U.S. – and a 6-3 New Zealand lead at the half. Despite the score, the Americans had most of the ball control and much of the half was spent on the Kiwi side of the field.
The All-Americans started the second half strong, and kept it that way for the rest of the game.
An intercepted pass gave the All-Americans their first lead – just as the Kiwis were trying to mount an attack. It was Peter Tiberio who burst through the line, helped himself to the Kiwi pass and was gone for five points. The conversion was no good.
Chris Saint, of Penn State, scored a second try later in the half and that would do it, though NZU scored a try with a few minutes left. While the result was never really in question, this was a much tighter game. It sets things up perfectly for a classic third and final confrontation in San Francisco this weekend.
If there’s live coverage of the game again, we’ll let you know ahead of time. We hope those of you who watched the Santa Barbara game through UStream enjoyed it as much as we did. Ain’t technology grand?
- Adrian Pratt, U.S. Embassy Wellington
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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