Yesterday, the Sevens side went across town to play powerhouse UCLA in a friendly scrimmage. The friendly nature of the game allowed for several seven minute halves and rolling subs to get the entire team’s feet wet, but both sides understood the benefit for early season competition. UCLA, going into next weekend’s West Coast Sevens tournament ranked 2nd overall, came to the scrimmage better prepared and flying out of the gates.
The talent and ability of the UCLA side quickly proved to our Sevens boys that a great amount of work is still to be done to achieve a competitive status amongst the best in the West. Although a high performing side, UCLA’s abilities should not have prevented USC from performing basic Sevens strategy, as was the case on Sunday. On the front foot, USC was unable to move the ball faster than the aggressive UCLA defense and was consistently held behind the gain line. Quicker movement of the ball and a greater exploitation of space is key to any Sevens team’s success. Defensively, the failure to communicate and spread the field proved detrimental on several occasions. Basic switch plays and overlaps executed almost flawlessly lead USC to more problems. Glimmers of hope were seen when the offensive structure of the team resembled what had been practiced in training the week prior; the basis of the team’s game showed signs of coming together. But once broken down the team reverted to its haphazard tendencies of previous years.
Coach Bryan Randles was optimistic following the encounter with UCLA, “The match was a good barometer of where our 7’s team ranks skill-wise. Playing against a top-notch team clearly showed us where our deficiencies lie and where we need to put in a little more work. Overall, it was a very productive day of rugby where the boys gained some valuable 7’s game experience.”
The sevens team must now expand on what went well against UCLA and extinguish their shortcomings if they hope to catch the attention of any of the eleven other sides competing at the West Coast Sevens next weekend.
Join us at Cal Poly SLO this weekend for the West Coast Sevens tournament and cheer on our boys trying to make a statement.
Games will be broadcasted on USA RUGBY:
- 10:20 am- USC vs. SDSU
- 11:20 am- USC vs ASU
- 1:00 pm- Playoffs
- Bowl, Plate, Cup to follow through 4:00 pm