Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The USA took a 12-0 into halftime behind tries from Matt Hawkins and Nese Malifa.
Portugal was first on the board in the second half with a try within the first minute by Pedro Leal to cut the lead to 12-5.
Kevin Swiryn extended the USA’s lead to 17-5 with a try midway through the second half.
Portugal’s Veltioven Tavares scored a try with a minute left to play to bring the score to 17-10 and make for a nervous final moments of the game for the USA and Head Coach Al Caravelli.
On the other side of Pool C, Fiji put Thailand to the sword with an 82-7 drubbing. Thailand’s second half score brought cheers from the Hong Kong crowd.
The USA will need to unload a massive amount of points on Thailand on Day 2 in Hong Kong to better position themselves to move onto the Cup Quarterfinals.
The tournament has a special guest in International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.
“He’s very impressed with the rugby. He was a rugby man himself and the Sevens is part of his life,” said Bernard Lapasset, IRB Chairman on watching the tournament with Rogge. “He’s interested by how we’re promoting the game and promoting Sevens around the world and it’s interesting to see teams like Thailand and Korea (playing here). It’s important for developing the Game around the world and Sevens is a broad game with the universality of the Olympics now.”
The USA’s first opponent on Day 2 is Thailand before finishing pool play against Fiji in a game, that will no doubt, decide who wins Pool C.