The USA men’s 7s team will take on New Zealand in the Cup Quarterfinals at 9:50pm EDT, 6:50pm PDT, and Head Coach Alex Magleby told RUGBYMag.com that he will not select light against the World Series leaders in order to rest some players.
“We can’t just go by history,” Magleby said. “We have been right there with them in recent tournaments. We will go full-on against New Zealand.”
The USA comes into Sunday play having just qualified for the top eight. They needed a missed conversion at the end of their final game against Scotland to secure a tie and a 1-1-1 record in pool play, and then had to sit and wait to see if Wales could beat Kenya, which they did.
“At times we started to do what we are supposed to do,” said Magleby, who also saw his team slip into old habits at times, as well. “We are a good team when we do the simple things well. I was really pleased with how hard the guys worked, and we did a better job of finishing off some two-on-ones. Matt Hawkins has been playing really well and Zack Test grinded it out. Good to see Colin [Hawley] doing the same.”
Every game is crucial on Sunday. The Eagles have seen a couple of teams they are battling with in the standings fall away, in Spain and Portugal. Canada, also, is in the Bowl rounds, but may have already done enough to keep the USA below them. The big problem is Scotland, which won Pool B and will face France. With Scotland likely to have a good tournament at home in Glasgow in Round 8, the Eagles will want to somehow do better than the Scots now.
This is the third time this season the USA has made the Cup rounds, but they have, so far, failed to win a match when they do. Even if they lose to New Zealand, a victory in the next game, the Plate Semis, would be worth at least two points – two very precious points.