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
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 answered with a chip and chase which resulted in a Rosko Specman try and Geduld conversion.
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
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