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Two tries last week for Todd Clever helped get the NTT Shining Arcs to 2-2 in Group B of the Japan Top League's 2nd half.

It capped off a good two weeks for a team that seems to blow very hot and cold. With the victories over supposedly tougher opponents, the Shining Arcs could win Group B, but it will tough sledding.

"We have to focus one game at a time," Clever told "When you're in the middle or towards the end of the season, a lot of teams think too much of the end result - relegation, winning the competition, or making playoffs."

Clever is just focusing on keeping a starting position, something that's tough to do on a team with two All Black forwards. Two tries won't hurt.

While working on getting NTT to the top of Group B, Clever is also taking the opportunity (because we asked him) to examine where the USA team is after ending 2013 on a relative high. Clever said the change in the team's fortunes is not just short-term.

"The recent personal changes from the staff to the players have been positive for the team," said Clever. "The new blood in the team has freshened up the attitude and really gave us a big boost. The team is in a good space right now, coming off a great November. We have to take that momentum into March and the summer."

Word is that the Pacific Nations Cup schedule will be a little easier on the USA this coming year, and that should make victories a little easier to come by. But first off there's the matter of the World Cup Qualifiers against Uruguay.