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Madrid 7s Part 2 Day One; Positives For USA

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Madrid 7s Part 2 Day One; Positives For USA

Ilona Maher scores one of her three against Poland. Photo FER

After Day One of the second tournament of the Madrid 7s the USA women are in a very good position, and the USA men have work to do.

With France pulling out of the women's bracket at the last minute there was a bit of a change in the schedule. What meant for the USA is that their game with France didn't happen and they only got two games on Day One.

Those two games went mostly according to plan. The Eagles dominated in their two games, showcasing some solid and physical defense, which is improved from last week. Spain couldn't find any way through and had trouble getting out of their own 22. When they finally did, the Eagles moved the ball quickly and efficiently. Co-captain Kristin Thomas scored two tries, and Kristi Kirshe, Cheta Emba, Jazmine Gray, and Kayla Cannet all touched down in a 32-5 win.

Gray didn't get on the field last week but showed some startling pace in scoring her first try.

USA 32
Tries: Kirshe, Thomas 2, Emba, Gray, Cannet
Convs: heavirland

Spain 5
Tries: Algar

Next up was Poland, a team that the Eagles beat twice last week, both times by 40 points. This was an even more overwhelming performance. THe Eagles kicked deep, pinned the Poles back to their tryline, and waited for them to turn the ball over. This happened repeatedly and Poland had no answer. Ilona Maher did just about everything she needed to do, making some key passes, some massive hits, and scoring three tries. 

Thomas scored two, as did Kirshe, and newer players Nana Fa'avesi, Gray, and Kasey McCravey all got on the scoreboard. While you don't like to see a game go 62-0, the score was an indication of how the Eagles didn't let up, didn't get lazy or distracted, and continued to execute.

USA 62
Tries: Thomas 2, Maher 3, McCravey, Kirshe 2, Fa'avesi, Gray
Convs: Heavirland 3, McCravey 2, Cannet

Poland 0

Next up, for the USA would have been Russia first thing in the morning. However, USA Rugby has decided to take their team home. With other teams reporting positive COVID tests, USA Rugby made the decision to leave Spain.

USA Women Pull Out Of Madrid 7s As COVID Precaution

Men Still Struggle

The issues for the USA men remain, as Head Coach Mike Friday likes to put his younger players out on the field and let them deal with their troubles themselves.

Against Chile the Eagles should have pulled away in the second half, but little mistakes started to creep in. Two Jake Lachina tries was enough, but barely, 12-7..

USA 12
Tries: Lachina 2
Convs: Melphy

Chile 7
Tries: Tredinick
Convs: Tredinick

Against a Kenyans team that had beaten the USA comprehensively a week ago, the USA was a little better and didn't quite let the game get away from them in the same way.

Still, Kenya was faster, more physical, and smarter over the ball and won 29-12.

USA 12
Tries: Tupuola 2
Convs: Melphy

Kenya 29
Tries: Ambaka, Onyala, Atieno, Taabu, Mwale
Convs: Onyala, Omondi

One more then to regain the momentum and the USA put it together against a poor Portugal squad. The key in these games is to not let up, and certainly the Eagles did that. Marcus Tupuola, who had scored twice against Kenya, scored three times against the Portuguese, and Lachina added two in a blowout.

The USA continuity was better and they stayed out of trouble in contact and ended the day 2-1.

USA 49
Tries: Tupuola 3, Leuta, Lachina 2, Iosefo
Convs: Melphy 7

Portugal 5
Tries: Peixoto

So at 2-1 the USA team is in a shaky position. Kenya and Argentina are both 3-0, and so the Eagles will need to beat Argentina and Spain to get a shot at the final.