Day Two started a tad earlier so we were up and away to the ground before we had much time to think. This wasn’t a bad thing as we focused in straight away on the task at hand: a big Polynesian side from the tiny island of Niue.
We had watched their games and they had proved tricky opposition for the likes of Kenya and co on Day 1. However, the Niue game was wrapped up by half time; they hadn’t touched the ball, Ross Miller and James Eddie were showing they could be a real force to be reckoned with at the restarts whilst Colin Gregor landed the ball on a sixth pence. James Fleming had sparks flying from his heels as he ran in three fantastic solo tries and when Niue had the ball we were desperate to get it back.
The second tie was against U.S.A who we knew were a much stronger group than those who were blown away at Murrayfield last season. They ran South Africa very close and had some dangerous players throughout their ranks.
In turn we played a good solid game of sevens keeping possession and moving the ball well. Miller scored two good tries and Gregor got on the end of another. It was a real positive for us that we were far more confident. We never looked like losing. The game finished 19-5 and we were in the final. We would play Argentina who, like us, were very disappointed to be in the bowl competition in the first place. This would prove to be a very, very hard game.
Game 6 of the tournament is of course always tough but it is the mental side of things that is essential if you are to perform. Everyone is tired, everyone is sore but you have to put that to the back of your mind and get on with it. The warm up went well. It was short and sharp. We headed up to the holding room and got some tunes blasting through the beatbox while Budgie ran over the key points of our game plan. We got the call to the tunnel and we went out pumped up.
Again we started well, starving them of possession and working to a good team try in the corner. So far so good. Unfortunately we couldn’t win our KO and they got the ball, breaking down the left flank, rucking quickly and then scoring in the far corner. 7-5. Both teams scored with their first attack and Argentina showed that they meant business.
There was a bit of frantic play from both teams before Argentina got the ball to their tall pace man Montero who lifted his knees and scored in the corner on the stroke of half time. 12-5.
Straight after the break we conceded a tough try down the short side from a scrum. Argentina were riding their luck. That put them in the driving seat and they defended well for the remainder of the game to see out the result. To say we were disappointed is an understatement, but you have to get on with the tour.
We landed in Dubai yesterday morning and it is the start of another chapter for us, we were gutted with what happened last weekend but everyone is determined to regroup and show this weekend that we are good enough. Not just to run the big terms close, but to start winning against them. Our group will be very competitive with our opening tie against Wales at 9.30 in the morning before an afternoon clash with Australia around mid day and then proceedings being wrapped up against Canada in the early evening.
We gave Wales a scare last week and we know if we play to our potential we can beat them. They will be full of confidence after going on to win the plate last week so we must turn up. Australia will be a cracker as we look to finally beat them and get revenge for last season at Twickenham when we threw away a 21-0 lead to lose 24-21 at the death. As for Canada, well, they always pose a real threat and will of course be fresh after not being involved in Australia.
Again we look to progress to the cup stages of day two which of course requires at least two wins. A tough task but certainly achievable. We have a lot to work on this week in terms of training and analysis but we are confident and we have a real desire to do well and progress as a team. Sheesh will be cracking the whip and putting us through our paces as ever to ensure we hit the ground running come Friday. I for one cannot wait.