Elite Men's Rugby NewsGlendale Merlins
Fridays a tough go for Merlins’ debut
The first day of the 2017 RugbyTown 7s wasn’t kind to the Glendale Merlins.
Friday, which also served as Glendale’s debut under the Merlins moniker, saw the home club fall to an unfortunate 0-3 in pool play.
“It’s our first sevens tournament as a team,” head coach David Williams said following Friday’s matches. “This is a great tournament and we’ve obviously got to put a good team in. We’ve just got to focus more.”
Photo by Seth McConnell
Having won the tournament before, Williams knows how tough the RugbyTown 7s can be. The Merlins’ Deion Mikesell got the tournament started on a positive note when he cashed in on a long try up the north sideline. The Merlins converted their kick to take a 7-0 lead over the SoCal Griffins, but unfortunately for them that would be the only time they led in the first match. The Griffins wound up winning the match by a final score of 24-12.
The Merlins went head-to-head with Negro Y Azul out of Austin, Texas, in their second match of the day, but were never able to lead the game.
“We should’ve won that second game I thought,” Williams said Friday evening.
Carlo Dennyschen’s try with four minutes to play brought the Merlins to within two, but Negro Y Azul put the cap on the game with a try of their own in the final minute after the two teams traded trys, and the Merlins came up on the wrong side of a 28-17 final score.
The third game didn’t get much better for the Merlins, who fell 24-5 at the hands of the British Army.
Friday didn’t go the way that the Merlins would have liked, but they aren’t letting one bad day get in the way of a strong tournament finish.
“We’re not a bunch of losers,” Williams said. “0-3 today hurts me personally. I know it hurts the boys exactly the same. We’ve got to respond accordingly. We’ve got to get the guys recovered tonight. Get some sleep, get some food in them and be ready to rock n’ roll tomorrow against the Cayman Islands at 1:30.”
As the Merlins got ready to call Friday a day, Williams had one final message for his team before they went home to recover.
“I said look, it’s disappointing to go 0-3 but we’ve got to pick our heads up,” Williams said. “We’ve got to focus on the things that we’re good at and not worry about anyone else and go in tomorrow with our heads up on our home pitch.”