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Positives for USA 7s Men, But Things to Fix Too

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Positives for USA 7s Men, But Things to Fix Too

Martin Iosefo steps out of a tackle. Photo P. Yates for World Rugby.

The USA Men's finish at the Vancouver 7s was undone by a couple of silly errors and one poor refereeing decision, but overall, still, the young Eagles did well.

Finishing 5-1 and 5th after losing their quarterfinal to Kenya, the Eagles won games they were supposed to win in Pool Play, and did the same after the loss to Kenya, beating a pretty strong Hong Kong team 24-10, and then an always worrisome Canada team 26-7.

(Hong Kong featured former Cal standout Russell Webb and played quite well until he was injured.)

In their four wins the USA averaged just under 28 points per game—four tries a game with a good conversion rate—and allowed an average of 12 points per game. That was impressive. Averaging more than three tries a game is a recipe for victory, 

the game against Kenya didn't quite follow that script. Kevon Williams scored a brilliant early try but after that the USA didn't protect the ball well. They were also hurt by a non-call on a penalty, where the USA halfback was interfered with and the referee instead called a knock-on against the Eagles instead of a penalty against Kenya. That was a big play. Still, the USA had a chance to win it at the end and a very poorly-thought-out offload ended up rolling away and eventually into Kenyan hands to end the game.

But ... Malachi Esdale, who has been on the periphery of the USA team for some time,  showed himself to be an athletic and pacey finisher. David Still, so very new to the game, has a ton of potential. Kevon Williams as captain? More of that please. 

There's still a question about the big guys. Replacing Danny Barrett and Ben Pinkelman is a tall order. We need to see more from everyone in that role.

Next up, Edmonton.

USA Vancouver 7s Scores: 

USA 33 Chile 5
Tries: D'Amore Morrison, Williams, Esdale, Still, Wendling
Convs: Melphy 4

USA 26 Germany 7
Tries: Esdale 2, Schroeder, Williams
Convs: Melphy, Fuala'au 2

USA 29 Canada 19
Tries: Iosefo 2, Channel 2, Leuta
Convs: Fuala'au 2

Quarterfinal
USA 14 Kenya 19
Tries: Williams, Esdale
Convs: Fuala'au, Melphy

5th-Place Semifinal
USA 24 Hong Kong 10

Tries: Esdale 2, D'Amore Morrison, Williams
Convs: Fuala'au 2

5th-Place Final
USA 26 Canada 7

Tries: Still, Leuta 2, Schroeder
Convs: Fuala'au 2, Nale