The USA’s Gold Coast 7s ended in the Bowl Semis with a less-than-perfect 19-5 loss to Scotland.
The USA started the game – for the second game in a row – with an error on the kickoff. Shalom Suniula’s kickoff went out on the full giving Scotland a free kick at midfield.
The Scots did very well to keep possession and while they were almost held up in the tackle, recycled to Sam Hidalgo-Clyn, who sneaked over in the corner to make it 5-0 Scotland.
Scotland retained ball from their own restart, and came close to scoring twice. Excellent tackles from Mark Bokhoven and Zack Test kept the score at 5-0. Finally the USA got the ball, but their attacking attempts left too many players isolated.
Folau Niua made a big break that looked promising, and he hooked up with Mike Palefau. But the return pass went to ground, and from that turnover Scotland worked the ball to Ross Miller, who sidestepped past a poor Bokhoven effort to score under the posts.
That made it 12-0 at halftime. At the break, USA Head Coach Al Caravelli wasn’t pleased, telling his players they needed to support each other. If you’re tired, said the coach, let me know and we’ll sub you off. Clearly not thrilled with the effort level, Caravelli watched his team lose possession on the restart once again, and Miller punched through to make it 19-0.
The Eagles finally did get something going, but it was very late. Two good runs from Peter Tiberio set up Folau Niua to grubber through for Colin Hawley, who grabbed the ball, pushed off his tackler, and scored.
But the USA restart again didn’t go ten meters, and it just seemed like those little issues – mistakes and penalties, put the USA in the situation of beating themselves.
The USA gets five World Series points, and finish the tournament 2-3, but they will look back at each of those losses and see how they weren’t so much beaten as beat themselves.
Notes: Al Caravelli used the same starting lineup in every game. Of those, Zack Test and Mike Palefau were the most consistent. The USA made five restart errors (kick out on full or not 10 meters), the most of any team in the tournament. Given that the Eagles pride themselves on their ability to retain their kickoffs, giving the opposition a free kick when they should have been on the attack certainly hurt them.
Lineup: Hawkins, Test, Bokhoven, Suniula, Niua, Palefau, Edwards
Subs: Hawley, Enosa, Tiberio, Kelm, Craigwell (not used)
Tries: Hidalgo-Clyne, Miller 2
Lineup: Riddell, Eddie, Gregor, Horne, Turnbull, Hidalgo-Clyne, Miller
Subs: Fedo, Gossman, Ashe, Fleming