USA Falcons – Plate Winners at Viña del Mar Sevens, Chile
January 18, 2015
Doug Coil, Journalist, Real-time Sports
The USA Falcons gained valuable experience at the Viña del Mar Sevens in Chile this weekend. The Falcons won the Plate Final 29-0 vs. Canada and finished with a 4-2 record.
The tournament had two main brackets. One Pool served as the CONSUR Hong Kong Qualifier Bracket, while the other was an International one. In the Hong Kong Bracket, Uruguay and Brazil finished the Pool first and second, respectively, and both qualified for the World Rugby Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens Tournament. Chile and Peru followed in Pool standings.
The International bracket consisted of Argentina, the USA Falcons, Canada and an Invitational side. Pool play finished in a three-way tie with three teams having 2-1 records. Point differential decided places as follows: Argentina, USA Falcons, and Canada. The Invitational side finished with a 0-3 record.
Day 2 began with crossover Cup Quarter Final matches between the International and the Hong Kong brackets. This is where a recap is needed from the beginning to show how the tournament developed for the Falcons.
Day 1 International Pool – Falcon Recap
Argentina scored the first try by Bruzzone one minute into play, but two quick converted tries by Mike Te’o gave the U.S. a 14-7 lead before Argentina’s Bonilla’s try evened the score at 14-14 at halftime. The Falcons had the momentum in the second half with tries from Ben Leatigaga and Will Holder for a 28-14 win.
Match two proved to leave many to wonder what if? The U.S. took a 14-0 lead vs. Canada with tries from Zach Pangelinan, converted by Te’o for a 14-0 lead. Canada narrowed the gap to 14-7 U.S. lead at halftime. The second half momentum swung to Canada with a Jordan Best’s try to knot the score. The turn around was complete with an unconverted try for a Canada 19-14 comeback win.
Unfortunately, not being able to hold a lead made the difference between winning the Pool and eventually, perhaps competing for the Cup title. This was especially true since the Falcons were the only team to beat the Tournament Champions, Argentina.
In Round 3, the Falcons had a dominant performance against the Invitational side winning 29-0. Tries came from Steve Tomasin, Pangelinan, and Te’o, as well as, two from unidentified players.
After Round 3, a three-way tie existed and point differential determined that Argentina was first, followed by USA Falcons and then Canada. The invitational side was 0-3 and finished fourth.
Day 2 Crossovers
The USA Falcons surprised with a slow start out of the gate vs. Chile. Chile took a halftime 12-0 lead on a try by Francisco Urroz, converted by Gonzalez and another by Alfonso Rioja. The U.S. could also not capitalize on a yellow card to Urroz. It wasn’t until the near the end of the match that Patrick Blair scored the Falcons only try to narrow the gap, 12-5 Chile. Quickly Chile sealed the match with a Pancho Metuaze try for a Chile 17-5 win. The U.S. would need to play for the Plate.
In the Plate Semi-finals the U.S. played the Invitational side again. They steamrolled to a 33-0 win that placed them in the Plate Finals in another return match vs. Canada. Tries by Te’o and Pangelinan (conversion Te’o) made it 12-0 at halftime. Second half tries came from Pangelinan, Leatigaga (conversion Tomasin), and by Colton Cariaga (self converted).
In the Plate Final, the Falcons learned how to close a match after taking a 10-0 halftime lead from Pila Taufa and Tomasin tries. Taufa and Te’o scored early in the second half, while Te’o converted. Cariaga added the final try for a 29-0 win.
The tournament served to provide high performance opportunities for players on track as potential Eagles. Mike Te’o and Zach Pangelinan had break out scoring performances. The Falcons were an offense threat, except in their two losses. They scored 138 points and gave up 50.
In Pool play, their inability to hold a lead against Canada cost them a possible Cup Final. Against Chile, was it their lack of offense or defense? Quick tries by Argentina and Chile also may be of concern. These factors will need to be determined by Coaches after watching video replays and reviewing the matches.
Day 1 International Bracket Hong Kong Qualifier
Canada 21-15 Invitational Chile 61-0 Peru
USA 28-14 Argentina Uruguay 5-0 Brazil
USA 14-19 Canada Uruguay 76-0 Peru
Argentina 36-10 Invitational Chile 0-7 Brazil
USA 29-0 Invitational Brazil 61-0 Peru
Canada 0-31 Argentina Uruguay 5-5 Chile
Day 2 Crossover International- Hong Kong
Argentina 31-7 Peru
USA 5-17 Chile
Canada 7-26 Brazil
Invitational 7-14 Uruguay
Canada 26-15 Peru
USA 33-0 Invitational
Argentina 19-5 Brazil
Uruguay 21-7 Chile
7th Peru 5-33 Invitational
Plate USA 29-0 Canada
3rd Brazil 5-7 Chile
Cup Argentina 31-0 Uruguay