The Runner Sports

Singapore Sevens: Day 1 Recap

When the pools were announced preceding tournament play, it was clear that USA Rugby would have their work cut out for them at the Singapore stopover of the HSBC Sevens Rugby Series. With the opening match against a tenacious Welsh side and ending the day with the All Blacks, the battered American squad finished 2-1 and advanced to the quarterfinal stage of the competition.

Wales vs USA

As an indicator of wind speed and direction, the impressive fro of flyhalf Folau Niua assisted the young American in placing kickoffs with pinpoint accuracy. Using this technique frequently against the Welsh, Niua helped extend an American lead by connecting a kick to an airborne Martin Iosefo. After an earlier score from Perry Baker, Iosefo broadened the lead by offloading to a rampaging Andrew Durutalo who easily made his way to the try line. With both tries converted by the reliable Madison Hughes, the Americans enjoyed an early lead until Welshman Morgan Williams muscled over the try line for a score of his own. The remainder of the match saw regular possession enjoyed by the Americans and three more Eagles would dot down in the try zone before the final whistle.

Scotland vs USA

The Scotsmen appeared less impressed by the Eagles’ speed and size and, with a halftime score of 12-12, showed that they would make the Americans earn any victory they achieved that day. The Scots claimed the first try after an American error from Perry Baker resulted in a score for their opponents. It was raining tries for the remainder of the match for both sides, as Eagles players were able to successfully convert possession into points. A major weapon in their arsenal is their ability to win kickoffs against opponents and this was used to great effect. The Scots strung together some endeavoring runs of their own and would not go quietly even after three second half tries from the Americans. Luckily, United States’ talent put the score enough out of reach of any Scottish comeback and the match ended with a 33-26 victory for the Eagles.

New Zealand vs USA

The opening minutes of the American clash with the All Blacks revealed that Perry Baker is indeed mortal. The American flyer, who has left even the wittiest commentators speechless, received a finger to the eye after a close encounter with All Black Joe Ravouvou and never really recovered composure. His skills and speed were missed as New Zealand launched a successful offensive against the Americans. Sam Dickson opened the tries for the All Blacks when some slick passing and off the ball play resulted in a gap in the American defense. Errors would plague the Eagles in both halves and the All Blacks are not a team to miss an opportunity to capitalize on an opponent’s mistakes. The sizable Ravouvou was never far from the action and with time expired in the first half, sent teammate Regan Ware in to score with a no-look offload reminiscent of Sonny Bill Williams. After continued sloppy play in the second half, two tries from Danny Barrett and Mike Te’o were not enough to prevent the 14-21 loss to New Zealand.

With only one defeat after day one, the Eagles are still in Cup final contention. First, however, they will have to redeem themselves against the aptly named Flyin Fijians in tomorrow’s quarterfinal matchup.

Eric Sweigert

Eric Sweigert

Currently a teacher-athlete up in Northern California, I was first introduced to rugby in college (go Aggies) and haven't looked back. Nowadays you can find me teaching American History and writing about a sport that provided many good memories and more than enough stitches.
Eric Sweigert