Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy, Editor, Rugby America
Team USA has climbed back into the Top 10 on the HSBC World Series standings by taking home the Bowl Title at the Adelaide 7’s in Australia.
“We’ve had a couple of Shields and we said we didn’t want any more Shields, we want to walk away with points for the Series. But more importantly the players got better as the weekend went on and that’s what we tried to do to springboard us into the last two tournaments,” said Team USA Head Coach Al Caravelli.
“We were 13th before, this takes us up to 10th and if we do things properly we will be able to pick up more points in the last two rounds (of the HSBC Sevens World Series).”
After finished Day 1 with a record of 1-2, Team USA faced Japan in the Bowl Quarterfinals. After jumping out to a 10-0 behind two Zach Test tries, Japan stormed back and held a 19-15 lead as time expired. With the ball in hand and no time left, Paul Emerick scored to give the USA a dramatic victory.
In the Bowl Semifinals, Team USA faced Scotland, a team the USA has not had little success against in the past year. Team USA rolled out to a commanding 19-0 lead and withheld a second half surge by Scotland to take home a 29-19 win. Team USA got tries from Colin Hawley, Matt Hawkins, Peter Tiberio, Miles Craigwell, and Taylor Mokate’s first ever World Series try.
In the Bowl Final, Team USA met up against old rival Kenya. Shalom Suniula opened up the scoring early with a try that he converted to give the USA a 7-0 lead. Kenya answered back with a Collins Injera try to cut the lead to 7-5.
After a Kenya player was sin binned in extra time, Colin Hawley scored to give Team USA a 12-5 lead going into halftime. Kenya was on the board first in the secon half with an unconverted try from Biko Adema to cut the USA’s lead to 12-10.
Colin Hawley capped the game and sealed victory with his second try of the game late in the half to place the final score at 17-10. Hawley’s try gave him two for the game and four on the day as he continues his development process and is beginning to become an impact player for Team USA.
New Zealand Takes Home Cup
New Zealand took home the Cup title which is the tournament championship. They did so by beating South Africa 28-20 in the finals. The win gave New Zealand their second straight tournament title, fourth this season, and extended their lead in the HSBC World Series standings.
Gordon Tietjens’ side eased into the final, beating defending champions Samoa 33-17 in the semis thanks to Frank Halai’s hat-trick after a 47-7 victory against Argentina in the first quarter final on day one.
2011 USA Sevens champions South Africa beat England 19-0 in the second semi final with tries from Branco du Preez, Sibusiso Sithole and Tshotsho Mbovane following victory against Fiji in their quarter final, a repeat of the Cup final in Las Vegas, coming from 12-0 down to win 24-14.
Tomasi Cama, who overtook Amasio Raomo as New Zealand’s all time leading points scorer on day one, added a further 25 points on day two to take his all time tally to 1154 – the fifth highest of all time.
Wales Wins Plate
Wales beat Argentina 14-7 in the Bowl final, a repeat of their victory in the 2009 RWC Sevens final. Despite being down to nine men, Wales took a 7-0 lead into half time with Alex Cuthbert once again showing fine form.
Diego Palma drew the scores level two minutes into the second half but captain Jevon Groves scored the decisive try on his birthday to also give Wales 12 Series points.
Japan Wins Shield
Japan beat Tonga 22-5 to lift the first silverware at the 2011 Adelaide Sevens. Despite going 5-0 down to Macquire Tatoala, tries from Lepuha Latuila, Shuetsu Narita, Pohiva Lotoahea and Lote Tuqiri secured the victory for Murata Wataru’s Japan.
Earlier, Tonga booked their place in the Shield final after a dramatic match with Shane Howarth’s Papua New Guinea whilst Japan were too strong for the Cook Islands.
In the first semi final between Tonga and PNG the scores were tied 19-19 at the end of normal time before Sailosi Palei crossed for the decisive try. In normal time Albert Levi has scored a hat-trick for PNG, taking his tournament tally to five.
Japan scored five tries to one in their victory over Ramsey Tomokino’s Cook Islands with Katsuyuki Sakai scoring 16 of their points in the 31-21 victory, helping his side with two tries and three conversions.