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Discussing the recent games at the Junior World Trophy, and the upcoming final against Japan (6pm local time at Murray City Park Rugby Stadium in Salt Lake City), players have continually spoken about studying their own performance, and working on fixing their own issues.
Japan, they know, is a speedy, tough, interesting team that has won three games by razor-thin margins. But who Japan is won’t be a factor if the USA knows who they are.
Against Russia, said threequarter Kingsley McGowan, “It was not the
performance we wanted, but a win is a win. What we’ll do is get it on film
and look at it and correct anything we need to correct for Japan. We’re
excited about making the final, but really we are still think, man, we
could have done better, could have done better.”
“We’re in the final and can’t ask for more than that,” added captain Will Magie. “We’re unbeaten as a team; we’re happy about that. Against Russia, we’d watched film on them and knew if we got our phase county up – we usually do about 60 or 70 phases, but if we got it up to 80, 90, 100, they would tire. We just had some silly offloads that we didn’t need to have. We’’’ fix that.”
“That’s how we are as a team,” explained McGowan about the self-correcting. “We look at certain things we need to correct and we correct them. We’re getting there.”
The lessons in the days leading up to Saturday have almost certainly centered around taking care of the ball. Japan is speedier and more dynamic than Russia, and can turn a turnover in their own 22 into a scoring opportunity in the other.
“We talk about our offloads as an important part of the game,” said McGowan. “Coach says if you have a clear sight eye-to-eye, that’s when you do it. If you don’t, then they’re the ones we don’t want to do, and we have to hold onto the ball. We know we had way too many turnovers in the first half [against Russia].”