USA Wins Shield at Edinburgh Sevens

Ted HardyContributor IJune 1, 2009

After finishing 0-3 on Day One in Scotland, with three nearly identical losses to New Zealand, South Africa, and France. The USA bounced back and eventually avenged their Shield final defeat at the hands of Canada in London last weekend by beating their North American rivals 12-10 to take the Shield at the Edinburgh, Scotland stop on the IRB sevens World Series.

Justin Mensah-Coker and Colin Brown scored for the Canadians, but Tai Enosa’s converted try in addition to Marco Barnard’s score proved the difference in the final match of the day for the U.S. Team.

“We knew we’d have to have a full 14 minutes to beat Canada this week,” USA 7’s Coach Al Caravelli said. “They are a physical team and we knew they’d run at us. We also knew we’d have to make all of our tackles.”

And that is exactly what the young Americans did. Following a 75 percent tackle rate in their match last week against their rivals to the north, the USA proved perfect in today’s match, making 100 percent of their tackles and only allowing one try early on and one at the very end off turnovers.

In the USA’s earlier matches, they weren’t able to hold that kind of consistency throughout. In the first game of Day Two against Portugal, it again proved to be a game of two halves, with the U.S. excelling early on, but losing grip in the final minutes to lose 26-5 in the Bowl Quarterfinals.

The USA then met up with Georgia, where they were able to put together a solid eight minutes, four in each half, and came away with a convincing win, at least on paper, to advance in the Shield brackets with a 27-0 win.

“We continue to improve every time we play,” Caravelli said. “But I knew we couldn’t let up if we were to beat Canada. After losing to them last week, the guys knew that if we could come back and win, we could finish the season happy with our performance. The team played for pride and with a lot of heart and it was a good ending.”

The USA finished its first season back as an IRB core team in 11th place overall and with a team high of 20 points. 

Day Two Results
Portugal 26, USA 5
USA 27, Georgia 0
USA 12, Canada 10

Day One Results
New Zealand 29, USA 5
USA Try: Palefau

South Africa 34, USA 5
USA Try: Scully

France 26, USA 5
USA Try: Scully

USA Sevens Team
1. Mark Bokhoven
2. James Gillenwater
3. Thretton Palamo
4. P J Komongnan
5. Taivalu Enosa
6. Mike Palefau
7. Alex Ross
8. Steve St Pierre
9. Marco Barnard
10. Zachary Pangelinan
11. Blaine Scully
12. Cory Blair