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Looking ahead to Matt Hawkins naming his squad to play in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, it's hard to think that many players on the USA Falcons raised their stock.

The team won the games you'd expect them to win, but didn't progress, as the players in Fiji seemed to repeat physical and mental errors made at the beginning of the NACRA 7s a week before in Cayman Islands.

Yes they were tired and hit by injury - but that's life as an international 7s player. They were also stubborn, unwilling to accept that flimsy passes out of contact that don't go to hand become seven points for good opposition.

The Caribbean teams allowed the Falcons to get away with such mistakes; Canada, and the teams in Fiji did not.

"Everybody involved was disappointed in the results," said Tony Pacheco, who took the team to those two tournaments. "The errors we made in the Cayman Islands - we made the same errors in the pool matches and the knockout matches. But in the final, Canada makes you pay for those errors."

In Fiji the Falcons started out well, winning their opening match and leading the Fijian Army 10-0 in the second half. That's when some crucial and avoidable errors turned the game, and the tournament, for the Americans.

First the Falcons had a penalty, and they kicked to touch, but missed. The Army scored a try from that. Then, it got worse.

"At the ensuing kickoff, our players weren't prepared, weren't watching the opposition, and the Fijian guys kicked to space and scored," said Pacheco.

Suddenly it's 14-10 Fijian Army, and the Army never looked back, eventually making the final.

"We went from having the game in hand to being behind," said Pacheco. "We made a mistake, but then instead of neutraliziing that error, we made another one, and another one."

The simple message for the players was, pay attention, and don't turn the ball over. It was a message they learned in a harsh way.

There were some bright spots, but perhaps not enough. Mike Ziegler played very well, but injured his finger early in Fiji and just had surgery. He's out for the rest of the year. Nu'u Punimata was, Pacheco said, his team's most consistent player; someone who didn't try to do too much, but did everything he was capable of.

No other player earned much effusive praise from Pacheco.

"We had an interesting team," he said. "It was a mix of veterans and new guys, but whatever level you play in, if you don't execute the basics, it's hard to win. Players did some good things, and made some mistakes. But we were making the same mistakes."

Also on the injury list, Eric Deuchle hurt his ankle but could be OK. Ryan Matyas ripped open his hand. It's unclear what his status is.