Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
Team USA’s London 7’s tournament started off promising enough. The squad held a 21-19 lead over hosts England with less than a minute to play in their opening game of the tournament. Two Dan Norton tries in the span of a minute erased any thought of an upset by the USA, but it was a good start to the day none the less.
With a bit of momentum on their side, the USA took down Argentina 22-21 in their second pool matchup. Argentina rolled out to a 21-0 lead early in the second half before a furious comeback by the USA was capped with a Justin Boyd try almost two minutes into extra-time to give the USA an improbable victory.
The win set up the USA for a do or die battle against France. A win would have put them in the Cup Round, but France turned out to be the surprise of Day 1 in London. After struggling the entire season, France not only defeated the USA 24-17, France also destroyed England’s hope of winning the World Series with a surprising 21-14 win.
The USA, once again, fell behind early as France took a 17-5 lead into halftime. Team USA closed the gap early in the second half with a Colin Hawley try, but never got any closer.
As Team USA moved onto Day 2 of the tournament, it appeared the squad had a decent draw for the Bowl. The USA drew Spain in the Bowl Quarterfinals. A squad with limited HSBC World Series experience, Spain shut out the USA 14-0 to drop the USA to the shield.
Into the Shield competition for the first time since Las Vegas, Team USA responded poorly as they spotted Portugal a 21-0 lead going into halftime. The USA attempted another dramatic comeback with tries from Zach Test, Miles Craigwell, and Colin Hawley, but it was too little too late as they fell 21-15 and ended the London 7’s with a 1-4 record.
Team USA moves onto their final tournament of the HSBC World Series season that is held in Edinburgh, Scotland. The USA faces a formidable pool as they are alongside Samoa, Fiji, and Scotland and face long odds to advance to the Cup Round.