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Friday Discusses Mid-Field Attack

National Teams

Friday Discusses Mid-Field Attack

Perry Baker (pictured, Martin Seras Lima photo), and Carlin isles didn't get a lot of space to work with.

Difficulty in breaking through the midfield was an issue for the USA Men’s 7s team in Wellington, and while the Eagles beat Samoa and France, they lost to England, Fiji, and Australia thanks to a lot of effort being expended trying to get through solid defenses.

Head Coach Mike Friday might well be missing an in-form Maka Unufe to do that job, but the coach told Goff Rugby Report that Kevin Swiryn (pre-injury) and Thretton Palamo can worry interior defenses, too.

In the end, Friday said his team’s issues were about reading the situation.

“We probably didn’t recognize the defensive picture as well as we can,” said Friday. “We could have attacked hard in the center channels, rather than move the ball laterally to the outside channels.”

In effect, Carlin Isles and Perry Baker were given the ball too early and in a way that allowed defenses to corral them. 

“We were not accurate in our attacking timing,” said Friday. “And we were a little loose on the final pass to both Carlin and Perry, which allowed the defense to recover. We also did not help [Isles and Baker]. We just need to scan the defense and if they over-mark the boys, then we need to attack the space they have left in the middle of the pitch. At times we naive in not doing that.”

Simple enough, right? In 7s, if you are looking at four defenders coming toward you, chances are that you’ve got five or six teammates in a better position to find space.

Friday said the addition of the experienced Martin Iosefo (in for the injured Swiryn) will help keep defenses honest.

“Martin is a very experienced 7s player who has real acceleration and power to exploit those types of opportunities,” said Friday, who added that Palamo, still getting into full 7s mode, learned a lot in Wellington.