Happily ensconced in Suva, Fiji, where the Fiji Water International 7s will be held, the USA men’s 7s has a rare opportunity to work out the kinks before they start the Sevens World Series.
“This trip will be a good learning experience for them,” said Zack Test, who is coming off probably his best season for the USA. “We’ll be able to make some adjustments going into the Gold Coast - we always play better in the second tournament, it seems, so this gives us a chance to have the second tournament be the one on the Series.”
Three players – Patrick Blair, Ryan Matyas and Stephen Tomasin - on the USA team are completely new to international 7s, while another, Miles Craigwell, has been out for almost two years. It couldn’t hurt to get them on the field before World Series points are at stake.
“For some people I think it’s a big deal, especially for the new guys,” said Test. “And for the older guys playing on the circuit it’s useful too – getting the niggles out.”
Game time as practice, then, is nice, but the team is itching to compete.
“We have a good feeling going into the start of the season,” said Test. “Camp was really good, really competitive. Everyone came in fit and healthy. Going on tour we are confident of the new system and new philosophies, and the younger guys have a lot of potential. But we really want to get back onto the circuit and show the world we’re not a bottom-eight team, we’re a top -eight team.”
The USA starts the Fiji Water Centennial International 7s with the first game of the tournament, against Argentina. This fits right in with the following weekend, when the USA starts the entire 2013-2014 World Series, facing New Zealand.
After Argentina, the USA plays the Fiji Wardens team, followed by France. The first game is on Thursday, October 3 US time, kicking off at 2pm Thursday Pacific Time, 5pm Eastern Time.