USA Men’s 7s captain Matt Hawkins has a job to do for the remainder of the World Cup, and that’s to ensure everyone just thinks about the rugby, even though there more to it than that.
They are in a new city, at the World Cup. It’s definitely more than just a rugby tournament.
“The guys have done a great job adjusting,” Hawkins told RUGBYMag.com. “I definitely think the history here has been taken in by a lot of the guys, but it has been a definite culture shock. Moscow is an incredible city and it's been fantastic immersing ourselves in the culture and taking it all in, but we're here to play rugby and [we were] all champing at the bit to get that first game under way.”
The gravity of the event is evident, also.
“The World Cup is still an incredibly special tournament,” said the captain. “There are great players out there who have had great careers and have never played in a World Cup. It's like the Super Bowl, but only every four years. But for me it's getting the guys to understand that it's just another opportunity to play rugby and get better.”
The USA started brilliantly against Georgia, leading 26-7 at halftime, but kind of faltered in the second half, allowing the game to finish closer than it should have been. Still, a win it a win, and now they have Canada and New Zealand ahead of them.
“I think we just want to continue to play good team rugby,” Hawkins said. “We have finally started to understand our strengths and weaknesses, but by no means are we a finished product, so we will keep working towards that.”