The USA Women's Eagle Sevens fell to a very sharp Australia side 0-33 in the Hong Kong IRB Women's Challenge Cup semifinals on Saturday (March 24, 2012). Two good wins on day one against Spain and Tunisia primed the USA for a shot at the ultimate prize, the Cup, but unforced errors and mental mistakes plagued the Americans against the defending World Champions in the semis.
"The result is a true eye opener for us in terms of what has to be done to beat the top teams," said USA Head Coach Ric Suggitt.
An Australian try straight from kickoff in the semifinal was an ominous sign for the Eagles and the Aussie onslaught continued for 14 minutes. The first half saw the Eagles completely starved of possession and tenacious work at the breakdown by the Aussies ensured the USA remained hungry for ball. Defensive misalignments and kicked-away possessions compounded the Eagles' woes and the game started to slip away from them.
Two solid wins on day one will serve as consolation for the developing USA team, especially the victory over Spain. Consistently among Europe's elite women's sevens teams, Spain proved to be a handful for the Eagles in their Hong Kong opener but the USA prevailed coming from behind and winning. That 'W' added to the Eagles' list of tight wins against good teams this season like the Netherlands in Vegas and China in Dubai.
That said, Suggitt doesn't want to make a habit out of not making it to the big game and knows the importance of getting to and winning Cup finals. His team has had a taste of a championship game this season, playing Canada in the Las Vegas Cup final, but lost 5-14.
Suggit said, "We will regroup and use what we've learned to prepare for the next challenge."
The Eagles have over a month until they have another shot at a Cup. They will play in the London Sevens from May 12-13, 2012.
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