The All Americans who took the field Friday at the 7s All Star Championships in Chula Vista, Calif. were different than those that played in Glendale the week prior, with six players joining the squad following a 15s tour of Ireland.
Having played a lot of rugby in the last week and logged quite a few hours on planes, the new guys were playing tired.
“For us, we got everybody on the field in every match. We spread the minutes out over all the players, and I could tell we had some tired players out there. That’s what we kind of had to do today, but it was good,” said All Americans coach Tony Pacheco.
“It gave us the opportunity to get to know each other. We only had one brief training session where we didn’t really run too much because the guys just got off a plane. In a way this day kind of helped us get to know each other out there.”
The All Americans went 0-1-2 on day one, tying the Northeast and South and falling to the West by just a try.
“Certainly the score lines and the table weren’t where the boys wanted and weren’t where I wanted, but we got better every game and that’s really important in a two-day tournament,” Pacheco said.
The Central Washington coach learned a lot about his team in Friday’s pool matches.
“I think I got a good idea, having not had an assembly and a camp with the guys, which guys are going to play well together and what some guys do well and what some guys don’t do well, so in that sense day one was good for us.”
Two guys who stepped up on Friday were Arizona’s Brett Thompson and Minnesota’s Nate Augspurger, with Thompson playing especially well.
“I thought Brett Thompson was great today, being a real leader for the guys,” said Pacheco. “In the second two matches he was really impressive, and he really executed play really well and got guys into the right spots and was really directing guys out there.
“He’s a big, strong guy and he’s also a big, strong, fast guy, and that’s what he’s got going for him. He’s a tall man and he can cover some ground. Once he gets behind the defense he’s usually going to finish the score, and that’s what he did the last two games.”
The All Americans have a tough test early on Saturday, as they meet undefeated Southern California in the quarterfinals. SoCal, led by Arizona’s Peter Tiberio who leads the tournament in tries with four and OMBAC's Zach Pangelinan who leads the tourney in points with 35, is the only team to emerge from Friday 3-0.