USA captain Shalom Suniula said he saw some positives in the team’s performance Friday evening at the USA 7s, but he also presented fans with a direct mea culpa.
Suniula was involved in a play that was essentially a team plotz – an attacking lineout primed to put the Eagles ahead against Canada turned into a rolling, fumbled ball and a try for the Canadians instead.
Later in the evening, Suniula, who set up several tries and was aggressive all evening, saw a pass intercepted by Fiji’s Metuisela Talebula right in front of the posts for a Fijian try.
Suniula took the blame for both.
“That interception was my mistake,” he told RUGBYMag.com. “If that ball had gone over, we could have scored. I had four or five guys on me so I knew if I got it wide we had a chance. The idea was right, I just didn’t execute.”
As for the lineout, Zack Test dropped the ball too far from his captain. Suniula whipped the rolling ball to his brother, Roland, who could only roll it to Miles Craigwell. Canada nabbed the ball and scored.
“It was a messy ball to me but I shoveled on rubbish to Roland and he shoveled it on as well,” Suniula said. “I will take the blame for that. I should have taken it up and set a ruck. It was on me.”
Head Coach Al Caravelli disagreed.
“That shows the kind of captain he is,” said Caravelli, adding that he felt he might have over-emphasized taking the lineout on penalties, and the lineout against Canada should never have happened. “I take fault for that because I know when we’re outside our 22 I have a lot of confidence with our guys we can just play, we can just go.”