After the USA lost to Australia 22-5 Saturday in the London Women’s 7s Challenge Cup, Head Coach Ric Suggitt said to Australia’s coach, “I’d like to have ten of these games.”
His opposite, Chris Lane, said, “same here.”
Well they get their wish, as the two teams will face off in the quarterfinals Sunday (the top eight go to the QFs, and the bottom four to the Bowl QFs). For the Eagles, it will be a chance to build on some of the positive things they saw on Saturday, and forget about the fact they let two winnable games, one extremely winnable, fritter away.
“Against France we played them to a stalemate, but in the second half we just couldn’t get anything going – we couldn’t get that last pass,” Suggitt told RUGBYMag.com. “France got their breaks, and that put us behind the eight ball right off the bat because we wanted two wins to guarantee a place in the top eight. If we didn’t get two wins, it would be up to points for and against.”
Next up was China, and they not only had to win that game – against a team that had beaten them in Las Vegas in 2010 – but had to win big.
Suggitt left the players alone after the France game and let them hash out their ideas, and then gathered them before the China match, asking them what they had come up with. They mentioned some areas of improvement, Suggitt said he had those on his list too, and let them loose.
“You need to figure it out on your own to put it into play; you can’t always depend on the coach to tell you,” said Suggit. “And the girls played the best 7s I’ve seen them play in a year or two. They just sliced them. They were hitting the line well, they were offloading, and trapping China well and just frustrating the hell out of them.”
Result – 50-0. That meant that even if they lost to Australia, they were in good shape in points difference.
“The girls played well and defended well but we bobbled too many balls in the tackle – we lost probably four balls in the ruck, and that’s way too many in sevens,” said the coach.
Vanesha McGee made two tackles that showed how much she has improved as player – chasing down breakaway runners and holding them up in-goal.
“She’s communicating well and she’s got confidence in her speed and kept us in it; that was a positive,” Suggitt added.
But they retain some intimidation connected with teams like Australia and England. They have beaten many of the other teams, but somehow they have to get through a mental barrier.
“We know what Australia’s going to do, and so now it’s just a matter of whether or not we can turn them over,” he said.
Win or lose the USA will have more games to play. Win and it’s the cup semis. Lose and it’s the Plate semis.