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That often translates into the same problems on the field: mistakes that lead to opposition scores, and failure to translate pressure into points.
For the USA Collegiate All Americans on Saturday, everything was switched around. It was the New Zealand Universities team that made the mistakes, and the Americans the team to punish them for it. And when the All Americans had scoring chances, they scored – to the tune of ten tries.
“Our interplay was very good,” said captain Blaine Scully. “The forwards worked hard to support the backs and be on-scene. The whole team aspect of the game was really good.”
Added scrumhalf Chris Saint, “I was really impressed with how this team came together. When we were knocking on the door, we scored, and that was down to teamwork. We worked a lot on running good lines in support and realigning well on defense. I am so proud of what the forwards did for us.”
The entire performance happened because of the attitude of the players. As much as any assembly in the past, this group came together with a team-first approach, and a unity of purpose.
“The guys have come together well, really well actually,” said Peter Tiberio. “It's hit or miss sometimes with rep sides if the team will click but this team is definitely gelling together.”
The next step? Keep it up. New Zealand Universities will have three days before Wednesday’s rematch in Santa Barbara, and you know they will be working hard to improve.
“The thing about this game is you can’t get too high or too low,” said
Scully. “We’re going to approach the next game the same way as if we had
lost this one – study film, learn from it, and try to get better. The guys
have the right attitude.”
And that can do a long way.