Tour Diary: Kingsley McGowan (Part Two)

Posted: January 11, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Kingsley McGowan is a member of the current USA Men's 7's team that is touring south America at the moment. He is based in Dublin, Ireland, playing rugby with Trinity College, Dublin

8th, 9th & 10th January, 2016

Saturday’s games went pretty back and forth. First up we played against Chile’s national team and they beat us 19-14. It was a very scrappy match, I think we came out pretty slow [started slowly] and I don’t think we were expecting the tenacity the south American team brought. It was a case of too little too late in terms of effort on our part which is why we lost our first game.

Second game up was Brazil, that was a tight contest and we came away with a 19-12 victory. We learned from the previous game about the breakdown area and what to expect so we applied those changes to Brazil and ended up coming away with a pretty decent victory. They were very good in terms of the breakdown area and slowing down our ball. Another piece that we worked on was communication on defence, who had first receiver, second receiver, and so forth. We fixed it from there. And when we got the ball, our attack was seamless in terms of patterns and plays and systems.

The last game of the day was against Argentina’s national team that’s actually going to Wellington on Tuesday and that was interesting. It was good to have some top competition. It was 5-5 at the half and we ended up going 12-5 up at the beginning of the second half. We got a few bad bounces, that’s 7’s, and we ended up losing 21-12. So that was a bit rough.

But as first day outsiders we performed pretty well. We were neither as good nor as bad as we thought we were, so learning improved. A few things we messed up on consistently were our positioning throughout the phases on defence, and sticking to our patterns on attack, sometimes we attack the wrong area of the field when we shouldn’t have.

Another thing we worried about was work rate. We weren’t unfit but 7’s is a different beast and I don’t think we were ready for the initial brunt of 7’s rugby, sprint endurance and that, so that was tough to manage.

Next day we had Uruguay up first. We finished third in our pool so we played second from the other pool. They came out strong, were up 5-0 at first but we came back and beat them 19-10. It was a good match, same as the other games, real tenacity at the breakdown and they wanted to make sure that we struggled to get up and win clean ball and play fast. What helped us was we improved our positioning in defence and our phase play, we also took and messed up a lot of their ball.

Next up we had the winner of Argentina and Brazil. We ended up having Argentina again but this time it was a much tighter game but we lost 20-14. We just focused on attack, positioning throughout the phases and that, and we put ourselves in a good position to win the game. But time ran out but it was a good match.

Last game of the day was Chile and was rough. Fatigue set in and we were down to 10 men on the squad, it was tough to compete and we lost 21-7. I just think we were tired, it’s tough to get up for it every game. I know some of the guys were feeling it as much as I was. We just didn’t have enough in the tank to put Chile to the sword and we lost track of defensive positioning throughout the phases and from there they scored, simple as. It was a tough situation to manage because we gave so much of an effort that it’s tough to fault guys. It’s tough to fault guys who make mistakes when they’re giving 100%, it’s easy to blame guys when they give less, but everyone put in the effort. It’s good to see we consistently have the effort, we just need to pick up the precision and we’ll be better for Chile next week.

I just want to add that it was great being captain, it was my first time being the official captain. That was a goal I didn’t expect to achieve this week. I definitely learned a lot from my teamates about what they need and what I need to provide as a captain. I loved the opportunity and I would love to do it again sometime. I definitely think we improved over the weekend.

So we’ll see how we go next week, I’m not sure if I’ll be on because I broke my nose. But hopefully I can muscle up and go from there!

Part One: https://theloosehead.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/tour-diary-kingsley-mcgowan-part-one/

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