The USA Men’s 7s National Team finished Day One of Madrid Sevens 2-1 after wins over Portugal and Spain that was followed by a loss to Argentina. Day two saw Perry Baker suffering a leg injury during the team’s loss to Kenya. That left them playing for third place against host Spain, and the team closed with a podium finish.
The tournament gained valuable experience for some of the team’s newer players, however, the Baker injury is a significant one in this Olympic year.
The Eagles Sevens made a strong return to international rugby after not playing against another senior side since February of last year. Newcomers Christian Dyer and Jake Lachina were impressive all day, and the duo adds depth to the program.
Head Coach Mike Friday said:
“Really pleased with the effort and application today, especially to see the smiles and enjoyment of the lads representing. Yes, we are rusty and we made mistakes at times, including some that were costly. But we also did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball and we’re starting to see that cohesion in match play come to life.
We will get back to the hotel, recover and reset for tomorrow. As a pack, we will strive to be better tomorrow than we were today.
All in all – it’s bloody great to be back on the pitch.”
The USA vs Portugal 38-17 (W)
Portugal scored first and then struggled on subsequent possessions. The Eagles Sevens had most of the games’ possession and scored six tries off quick phase plays all over the field. Young players Faitala Talapusi, Harley Wheeler, and Christian Dyer each added tries.
Tries: Faitala Talapusi, Harley Wheeler, Marcus Tupuola, Maka Unufe, Christian Dyer
Cons: Faitala Talapusi (4)
The USA vs Spain 35-5 (W)
Both teams had numerous penalties during the match. Perry Baker claimed a hat trick with three tries along the right flank. Spain drew a yellow card in the first half and Maka Unufe drew one in the second. Army West Point products Jake Lachina and Cody Melphy combined for two exciting tries.
Tries: Perry Baker (3), Jake Lachina, Cody Melphy
Cons: Cody Melphy (5)
The USA vs Argentina 17-24 (L)
The match against Argentina was a physical one. The Pumas 7s scored the opening points with Ben Pinkelman scoring first for the Eagles 7s. A yellow card on Kevon Williams led the Pumas to build their lead as tries by Christian Dyer and Brett Thompson kept the Eagles Sevens in it until the final whistle.
Tries: Ben Pinkelman, Christian Dyer, Brett Thompson
Cons: Cody Melphy
The USA Men’s 7s National Team finished third in the opening weekend of the Madrid Sevens. After a day two loss to Kenya with an injury to Perry Baker, the team defeated Spain to finish with a podium placing.
Jake Lachina scored a hat trick while Cody Melphy and Faitala Talapusi moved the ball across the field. Veterans Kevon Williams and Brett Thompson showed their speed.
Head Coach Mike Friday said:
“It’s been an up and down day for us. Firstly our thoughts and hopes are all with Perry and we will wait for the synopsis and what the plan is for him from here on out. We can’t hide from the fact that we were given a physicality lesson by Kenya this morning amidst a clear message on our areas of focus over the coming weeks.
“While we all hate losing, maybe that was a blessing in disguise for us to realize where our combat conditioning, repeated effort, and physical intensity need to operate. These are valuable learnings for the vast majority of the group and we will have a hard training week in the lead into next weekend’s competition as we put the required behaviors under stress again.
“We are unhappy with the weekend’s results but pleased with the learnings and what is important is our response as we build forward.”
The second weekend of Madrid Sevens takes place Feb 27-28 with a LIVE stream on florugby.com. The schedule will be announced by event organizers later this week.
Perry Baker’s return to play timeline will be communicated following a comprehensive evaluation from medical personnel. Fans should expect him to remain out next weekend.
The USA vs Kenya 38-7 (L)
After Kenya scored on the opening kick-off, Perry Baker broke open on the wing to even it up. The USA reclaimed the ball on the restart but a turnover allowed Kenya to build a 7-12 lead. The Kenyans continued to capitalize on U.S. mistakes in the win over the Eagles Sevens. What was devasting in the loss was Baker’s removal from the field with a leg injury in the second half. It is hoped that he will recover as quickly as possible.
TRIES: Perry Baker
CONS: Cody Melphy
The USA vs Spain 24-17 (W)
Jake Lachina showed his speed is scoring a hat trick against Spain. The USA led 12-0 before Spain tied it up. In the second half, Marcus Tupuola drew in defenders with Kevon Williams finishing with a try.
TRIES: Jake Lachina (3), Kevon Williams
CONS: Cody Melphy, Faitala Talapusi
USA Men’s Sevens Roster
|PLAYER NAME||POSITION||HSBC TOURNAMENTS|
|Martin Iosefo (C)||Center||46|
|Kevon Williams (VC)||Halfback/Wing||27|
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Strength & Conditioning | Jon Hood
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Team Manager | Scott Novack
Madrid Sevens Men’s Schedule (USA)
- Feb 20
vs Portugal | 38-17 (W)
vs Spain | 35-5 (W)
vs Argentina | 17-24 (L)
- Feb 21
vs Kenya | 38-7 (L)
3rd Place | 24-17 (W)