The USA Men’s Sevens team finished in ninth place at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens on December 13-15. The USA Men currently are in ninth place in the 2019-2020 HSBC Sevens Series standings.
This year’s format of teams exiting the tournament after a loss in the quarterfinals is controversial. Places 5-8 are then determined based on team point differential in all matches. It means that four of the sixteen teams play six matches while the others play four. It provides fewer opportunities for reserves to gain valuable playing time and will negatively impact the true strength of the teams with luck a larger factor than performance.
As a result of the USA’s performance in Dubai, the team was drawn into a pool of death, with last season’s first-place team in Fiji, the second-ranked USA, and fourth-place South Africa. The USA suffered narrow losses in Pool play to Fiji and South Africa with a dominant win over Japan. The team finished with a win over England for ninth place.
The USA had some personal milestones in Cape Town, as it was Danny Barrett’s 50th tournament and was Harley Wheeler’s first.
USA 14-28 Fiji
The USA faced a difficult opening challenge at HSBC Cape Town Sevens and fell 28-14 to a Fijian side their opening pool match.
Fiji could not take advantage of the USA being down a man after Maka Unufe was sent to the bin in the first minute. Fiji did take advantage of other opportunities with Aminiasu Tuimaba and Meli Derenalagi tries and Napolioni Bolaca slotting the extras to lead 14-0.
Fiji had their discipline issues with Vilimoni Botitu sent to the bin. This led to a try by Stephen Tomasin and a conversion by Madison Hughes to cut the lead to 14-7.
The USA appeared to have gained the momentum moving the ball inside the Fiji 22, however, a knock-on by Maceo Brown with Perry Baker open on the wing, thwarted their attack.
Fiji answered with a try by Vilimoni Botitu with Waisea Nacuqu adding the extras for a 21-7 lead. Alasio Naduva added another try with Nacuqu slotting again to push the lead to 28-7.
The USA cut the final score to 28-14 after Perry Baker evaded three tackles for a try, with Hughes converting.
USA: 3 Danny Barrett 10 Madison Hughes (C) 1 Carlin Isles 9 Stephen Tomasin 8 Maka Unufe 4 Matai Leuta 7 Naima Fua’laau Reserves 11 Perry Baker (7′) 6 Kevon Williams (6′) 5 Joe Schroeder (5′) 12 Maceo Brown (12′) 2 Ben Broselle (12′)
Fiji: 9 Jerry Tuwai 1 Sevuloni Mocenacagi 4 Paula Dranisinukula 7 Vilimoni Botitu 11 Aminiasu Tuimaba 6 Meli Derenalagi 12 Napolioni Bolaca Reserves 8 Waisea Nacuqu 2 Josua Vakurunabili 10 Alasio Naduva 2 Isoa Tabu 5 Kavekina Tabu
USA 42-0 Japan
After losing to Fiji, the pressure was on the USA to score as many points as they could against Japan. They answered with a 42-0 rout of Japan.
Carlin Isles got the team on the scoreboard early with Madison Hughes adding the extras for a 7-0 lead. Danny Barrett and Hughes added additional tries to lead 21-0.
The USA continued its scoring in the second half with Tries by Stephen Tomasin, Hughes, and Kevon Williams for the 42-0 win.
This setup a final pool match against South Africa with the USA needing a 22 point win to advance to the Quarterfinals.
USA: 3. Danny Barrett 10. Madison Hughes (C) 1. Carlin Isles 9. Stephen Tomasin 8. Maka Unufe 4. Matai Leuta 7. Naima Fualaau Reserves 11. Perry Baker (7′) 12. Maceo Brown (7′) 6. Kevon Williams (7′)
5. Joe Schroeder (9′) 2. Ben Broselle (14′)
South Africa 21-15 USA
The USA needed a 22 point victory against South Africa to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals. This was a difficult task, but the USA played one of their best matches despite falling 21-15 to the Springboks Sevens.
The Blitzboks opened the scoring with a try by Dylan Sage with Justin Geduld adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing restart, South Africa’s Chris Dry was sent to the bin on a tip tackle of Madison Hughes. The card could have been red with Hughes landing on his shoulders. The USA did not take advantage of an attack after a Carlin Isles run with Matai Leuta stepping into touch.
The Blitzboks answered with a chip and chase which resulted in a Rosko Specman try and Geduld conversion.
Seabelo Senatla was also sent to the bin and this provided the space for a try to cut the lead to 14-5 at the break.
Selvyn Davids broke the game open with a try with Geduld slotting again to push the lead to 21-5.
Following a Maka Unufe break, Matai Leuta finished with a try in the left corner. Perry Baker added another in the final minute to make the final 21-15 to South Africa.
USA: 3. Danny Barrett 10. Madison Hughes (C) 1. Carlin Isles 9. Stephen Tomasin 8. Maka Unufe 4. Matai Leuta 6. Kevon Williams Reserves 11. Perry Baker (8′) 5. Joe Schroeder (11′) 12. Maceo Brown (11′) 2. Ben Broselle (12′) 13. Harley Wheeler (13′)
South Africa: 1 Chris Dry 9 Justin Geduld 11 Seabelo Senatla 8 Rosko Specman 3 Dylan Sage 5 JC Pretorius 10 Kurt-Lee Arendse Reserves Ruhan Nel 6 Sivine Soyizwapi 4 Zain Davids 2 Ryan Oosthuizen 7 Selvyn Davids
USA 17-12 England
The USA faced a difficult pool after their performance in Dubai. Losses to Fiji and South Africa meant a ninth-place match against England. The USA Men’s Sevens kept their resolve and defeated England in the 9th Place Playoff to bring their overall record at HSBC Cape Town Sevens to 2-2.
The USA opened with a strong run by Danny Barrett and a turnover to England led to a run by Dan Norton with Carlin Isles defending well. Norton spotted Oliver Lindsay-Hague trailing and finishing with a try. Will Edwards then converted for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing restart, Maka Unufe scored with a linebreak to cut the lead to 7-5. Danny Barrett then fended Michael John Ellery for a try to lead 10-7. Carlin Isles added another after breaking down the wide channel and cutting inside for a try under the posts making for an easy conversion by Madison Hughes to lead 17-7 at the break.
A Stephen Tomasin yellow card in the second half led to a Dan Norton try in the left corner to make the final 17-12.
The USA will have a break until the New Year before the third round of the season in Hamilton January 25-26.
USA: 3. Danny Barrett 10. Madison Hughes 1. Carlin Isles 9. Stephen Tomasin 8. Maka Unufe 4. Matai Leuta 6. Kevon Williams Reserves 11. Perry Baker (7′) 12. Maceo Brown (9′) 5. Joe Schroeder (11′) 2. Ben Broselle (12′) 13. Harley Wheeler (14′)
England: 3 Phil Burgess 2 Michael John Ellery 9 Oliver Lindsay-Hague 4 Dan Norton 12 Harry Glover 10 Will Edwards 5 Charlton Kerr Reserves 7 Dan Bibby 1 Richard de Carpentier 8 Tom Bowen 11 Ben Harris 6 Tom Emery
HSBC World Sevens Series Standings
Head Coach Mike Friday
Assistant Coach Anthony Roques
Strength & Conditioning John Hood
Athletic Trainer Brian Green
Team Manager Scott Novack
CAPE TOWN SEVENS SCHEDULE & Match Preview
vs Fiji | 14-28 (L)
vs Japan | 42-0 (W)
vs South Africa | 15-21 (L)
9th Place Playoff
vs England 17-12 (W)
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