To succeed at the Hong Kong 7s, and a week later at the Tokyo 7s, the USA men’s 7s team has got to stop dropping the rugby ball.
They’ve got to stop dropping it in contact, in open play, and, especially, on restarts.
It’s been a bugaboo for the USA this season, most maddeningly, when the players are under virtually no pressure. During training at the Olympic Training Center the players sometimes were afflicted with the dropsies again. New coach Alex Magleby didn’t rail against the players, he didn’t stop practice to get the players refocused. He just ran the sessions.
“Mistakes do happen,” Malgeby said. “We are going to drop balls. The question is, if we are going to drop a few balls, what do we do about it. Emotion is part of it – and playing with controlled emotion is very hard to do – but we do have to have amnesia when we play at this level. It takes self control, and it has to be practiced.”
That’s it more than anything else. It is clear the team was tense in their last two tournaments, and, as has been explained before on RUGBYMag.com: in the 19 games the USA has lost so far in the IRB World Series, ten times they had the ball at the end with a chance to win, and only once did they execute.
That’s where the team needs some amnesia. They need to forget all those mistakes and missed opportunities, and concentrate on one tiny little thing in front of them – see the ball, catch the ball, keep the ball.