January 17, 2016
USA Rugby Falcons Finish 5th at Viña del Mar Sevens, Chile
Photo: USA Falcons at previous week’s American Sevens
The USA Rugby Falcons finished fourth in the American Sevens at Mar del Plata, Argentina on Jan. 9-10, 2016 and play in the Viña del Mar Sevens, Chile on January 16-17, 2016.
Essential to the USA Rugby Eagles Sevens team’s development is creating an expanding pool of players that can challenge for a position and step into the Eagles Sevens, as needed. The Falcons have an opportunity to learn from last week and are in a difficult bracket that also includes Argentina, South Africa and Canada.
Mike Friday, Head Coach of the Eagles Sevens, feelings about the team’s fourth place finish last week was clearly stated in a tweet,”win or learn.” When players represent the country, they are expected to perform and compete for titles.
Hopefully, the Falcons will improve upon their performance last week. Both Argentina and South Africa Sevens Academy will present a formidable challenge. The rivalry between the United States and Canada will ensure there are not any letdowns.
There are two pools in the tournament, one the Nations Cup and the Other the Hong Kong Qualifier. In the latter Pool, the top two in the Pool will qualify for the Hong Kong Sevens. In day two teams will cross over pools with seed one playing seed four and seed two playing seed three in the Quarterfinals.
In the USA Falcons first Pool match was against Argentina, Juan Pablo Estelles and Santiago Resino tries had Argentina on top 10-0. A Seth Halliman try and Mike Te’o conversion closed the gap to 10-7. Argentina scored two more tries by Ramiro Finco and Juan Pablo Estelles had his second, also converting. Final score was Argentina 22-7 over the USA Falcons.
Match two for the Falcons was against the South Africa Sevens Academy. The Falcons once again had to play catch up when Ngcobo jotted down a try which was converted by Dewald Human. South Africa lead 7-0. The Falcons answered right back with a Mike Te’o try and conversion to tie the score. After that the scoring went in South Africa’s direction with a second try by Ngcobo, converted by Dewald Human. Ruan Nel scored the next try, also converted by Dewald Human. Ngcobo then had a hat trick try, while the final try came from Dono Van du Randt, converted by Dewald again. The Final was South Africa 33-7 over the USA Falcons.
Match three featured the rivalry between the USA and Canada. Canada struck first with a Karsten Leitner try that was converted by Andrew Coe. The USA Falcons struck back with a Mike Te’o try and conversion. Canada was not finished as a Lucas Hammond try had Canada in the lead at halftime, 12-7.
In the second half, Canada increased their lead from a second Leitner try. This is when the Falcons quickly countered with a second Mike Te’o try and conversion. At this point the Falcons were down 14-17. Tua Laie sealed the match for the Falcons with a try that was converted again by Te’o. The Falcons won 21-17 and were third in their Pool.
The USA Falcons were matched against the Brazil Sevens National side. Brazil entered the match having qualified for the Hong Kong Sevens yesterday by vitue of a second place in their Pool.
In the tournament the Falcons have found themselves playing from behind in each match. Today’s quarterfinal match was no exception as Lucas Duque scored the first try for Brazil. The conversion was missed and Brazil led 5-0. Matin Schaefer tacked on another try which was converted by Lucas Duque. At halftime it was Brazil 12 and the Falcons 0.
Early in the second half Brazil continued to pressure and resulted in a Gustavo Alburquerque try and Duque conversion. Another try quickly followed by Andre Nascimento and a Duque conversion. The score was now 26-0 to Brazil.
The Falcons were finally on board soon after with an Alex Faison-Donohoe try that was converted by Mike Te’o. (26-7) The USA defense was however pierced and Lucas Druni added a last try for Brazil. Dueque also converted. The Final was Brazil 33-7 USA Falcons.
For the first time in the tournament, the USA Falcons scored first as Anthony Welmers touched down around four minutes into the match. Shortly later, Tua Laie added another, which was converted by Jope Motokana. At halftime the Falcons held a 12-0 lead against Peru.
The second half opened with a Seth Halliman try and conversion. (19-0 Falcons). Peru answered back with a try by Renato Lecca and then quickly scored another by Mauricio Monier. The match ended 19-10 in the Falcons favor.
The Bronze Final saw the USA Falcons and Canada facing each other again from a Pool play rematch where the Falcons won 21-17. This would prove to be a see-saw match.
The Falcons struck first this time a minute into the match with a Mike Te’o try. Aaron Evison answered back for a Canada try and that is how it ended at halftime, a 5-5 tie.
Seth Halliman quickly opened the second half with a try and the Falcons had a 10-5 lead. That changed soon after as Evison scored another try to tie the match. He then added a hat trick try off the restart and Canada had their first lead. (10-15 Canada)
The Falcons showed their resolve as an Aaron Davies try and Mike Te’o conversion gained a 17-15 win against Canada.
The USA Falcons are a USA Eagles Sevens Development side. The tournament provided opportunities to perform in a high caliber environment against other National and Development teams. This was a learning opportunity for the players. Hopefully, the learning curve will be a quick one if they want to challenge for an Eagles Sevens position. The USA player pool must continue to increase if the Eagles Sevens expect to continue to excel.
It should be mentioned that due to injuries at the American Sevens the previous weekend in Argentina, the Falcons played with a ten man roster.
Day One Results
Canada 0-40 South Africa
USA Falcons 7-22 Argentina
USA Falcons 7-33 South Africa
Canada 5-22 Argentina
USA Falcons 21-17 Canada
Argentina 7-24 South Africa
Hong Kong Qualifier Pool -Chile & Brazil Qualify
Chile 31-0 Peru
Brazil 19-12 Uruguay
Uruguay 33-7 Peru
Chile 24-0 Brazil
Brazil 56-0 Peru
Chile 26-10 Uruguay
South Africa 54-0 Peru
Argentina 29-5 Uruguay
Brazil 33-7 USA Falcons
Chile 14-12 Canada
Peru 10-19 USA Falcons
Uruguay 10-21 Canada
South Africa 12-21 Brazil
Argentina 35-7 Chile
7/8th Peru 0-45 Uruguay
Bronze 5/6th USA Falcons 17-15 Canada
Silver 3rd/4th South Africa 29-12 Chile
Gold 1st/2nd Brazil 7-40 Argentina
USA Falcons | 2016 South America Tour
- Aaron Davis – Columbus Rugby Club / Tiger Rugby
- Alex Faison-Donahoe – Kutztown University
- Seth Halliman – Central Washington University / Men’s Eagles Sevens
- Tua Laei – Brigham Young University / Rugby Utah
- Peter Malcolm – Wheeling Jesuit University
- Kingsley McGowan – Trinity College
- Jope Motokana – Seattle Saracens / ATAVUS Academy
- Aladdin Schirmer – Central Washington University
- ConRoy Smith – Northern Virginia Rugby Club
- Joey Sok – Columbus Rugby Club / Men’s Eagles Sevens
- Mike Te’o – Men’s Eagles Sevens
- Anthony Welmers – Davenport University
USA Falcons | Coaching Staff
Andrew Locke – Coach
Brian Finn – Physiotherapist
Sean Lindersmith – Manager