Wednesday, October 24, 2018

HSBC Women's 7s Series - Glendale, CO - analysis




...notes from the HSBC Womens World 7s Series
contributed by: Our Man in the Stan’s
Infinity Park, Oct 20 – 21:

The USA Eagles opened this year’s campaign “at home” starting day 1 in Pool B facing off against New Zealand, who currently enjoy an all time win record of 89%, England (54%) and China (20%) in their group.

Team USA win record currently stands at 52% and the score lines on day one reflected this, losing to NZ 35 – 12; to England 12 – 10 and winning against China 24 – 21. Day 2 was a much more exciting prospect with a 26 – 5 blowout of Australia, a dramatic 21 – 19 win at the end of time against France, and a 33 – 7 defeat to New Zealand, which earned USA second place and silver medal overall.

Scrums
Versus England & New Zealand: Total 8 scrums (5 and 3), USA won three against England and one against NZ – 100% of their own ball. The scrums enabled them to show physical dominance, and on two occasions, netted more than 40 meters territorial gain and one TRY earning a half time lead against England. Critically and counter expectations, the last scrum against England saw the ball carried over the TRY line giving England scrum, penalty, TRY and ultimately victory for the Roses.

Lineouts
Versus England & New Zealand: Total 3, (none in NZ game) all in favor of the USA who put up three players to England’s two each time. The first lineout was a win yielding the opening TRY of the game after two fast passes and a 20-meter midfield break. Two more lineouts from penalty kicks showed intent of Team USA, however Team USA lost both of those set pieces to England, who were playing only two players in the line and a half back covering at the tail.

Penalties
Versus England & New Zealand: Total 10, the majority of these were at the ruck and some at tackle, three of which were in favor of Team USA, against England, who opted to kick for lineouts on two occasions, and arguably yielding one TRY. The four penalties (and one free kick) given away, led to both of England’s TRYs and on one occasion, a territorial loss of 45m allowing England deep into the USA half.  In the New Zealand game, Team USA conceded three penalties, mainly at ruck time, and one free kick all of which resulted in TRYs to New Zealand.

Method (Day 1, Cup Semi Final and Final Day 2)
The Team USA playing style in attack reflected that seen in the men’s squad with multiple passes finding strong runners on both wings and successful attempts to win back their kick restarts; Team USA clearly were willing to challenge out wide and, on critical occasions, put strike runners through the midfield. Defense on the other hand often appeared to be a split blitz of 3-and-3 with a sweeper in a very high position just behind the middle. Works well in the physical game, however leaves challenges when facing fast aligning and multi-faceted teams with good passing skills and kick-chase ability. On one occasion, this resulted in the whole squad being bunched up on one side of the field leaving a 3-on-0 overlap to exploit.

Catch-pass sequences are critical to successful attacks. A simple comparison in their day one game showed NZ at 25 catch-pass sequences (mainly 2 and 3, 6 in succession on one occasion!) and USA at 5 (mainly single passes).

                                                         



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