“I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” were the words of Isoroku Yamamoto following the “successful” surprise attack on the U.S. Navy fleet in Hawaii 77 years and a week ago today.
Almost eight decades later, the quote has new relevance for a U.S. rugby sevens squad that has seemingly done the unthinkable, beating New Zealand in the sevens tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.
The win got the Eagles into the final, but they proved no match for Fiji, who sent them to a 29 – 15 loss, but the Fijians failed to sink so much as a launch, let alone a battleship.
The Americans have now gotten into a final twice, with nothing to show, unless you consider that they now lead the series by a point from New Zealand.
New Zealand beat the Yanks the weekend prior in the season-opener in Dubai, just to assure all the Kiwis that the reports of the demise of New Zealand rugby dominance are greatly exaggerated.
Then again, host South Africa beat New Zealand 10 -5 in Cape Town, so the aura of invincibility surrounding New Zealand rugby prowess does show signs of dimming, although it is far too early to declare them goners and many an Aucklander will buy you a tinny and outline many logical reasons why sevens do not truly count.
The U.S. has played sevens for almost 20 years, but has won only two tournaments.
The big news for the U.S. is Danny Barrett, whose mug was omnipresent on every sports highlight show on the planet, who scored an epic try on the Kiwis that was described by Supersport as “One of the most memorable tries in Cape Town Sevens history.”
No rumours have yet surfaced that Barrett will hop to the NFL, but a US. NFL journo who follows the New England Patriots wrote, “Danny Barrett is an absolute animal.”
Watch out Gronkowski, your days as tightest of all ends may be coming to a close.