Ireland endured a baptism of fire at the Rugby World Cup Sevens at Hong Kong's Happy Valley today.
Ryan Constable's young side - all without previous experience of the global event - suffered three opening defeats in a Pool A which is currently dominated by unbeaten duo New Zealand and Scotland.
The Irish - led by captain and top scorer (18 points) Ian Humphreys - sit bottom of the pool, with tomorrow's clashes with Korea and Tonga to determine if they are to progress to the Bowl or Shield competitions.
"The guys are still on a learning curve - it was a tough day out there," admitted Constable - who lined out at the 1993 and 1997 World Cups for Australia.
"The results didn't go our way but there were some good individual performances in the games - particularly Ian (Humphreys). I thought Andy (Maxwell) did well for his tries and hopefully as a squad we can build on the good things we did for tomorrow."
Humphreys answered back a second minute Roland Reid try in this morning's opening 33-14 loss to Scotland. The Belfast Harlequins out-half ended a 30-metre sprint with a fine touch down but concessions to Andy Turnbull and Reid saw the Irish 19-7 down at the interval.
With Scottish substitute Oli Brown yellow carded - Leinster wing James Norton skipped in for a second Irish try - but a recovery was beyond them.
2001 winners New Zealand then romped past Ireland 52-5 - posting eight tries and the second biggest winning margin of the day.
Highlanders flanker Josh Blackie - one of two Super 12 players in Gordon Tietjens' NZ squad - crossed for a first-half try hat trick and an immediate 31-0 buffer.
Ulster winger Andy Maxwell did hit back on the restart, weaving his way through for a well-taken score out wide but that was the highpoint as Blackie, Edwin Cocker and Isaia Toeava touched down to complete the rout.
The USA powered clear in the second half of their meeting with Constable's men - having cancelled out Maxwell and Hewitt tries in the first.
Humphreys did pull Ireland 19-12 clear two minutes after the restart, but tries from Mike Paelfau, David Fee and Jason Raven completed a 31-19 US win.
POOL A RESULTS:
Ireland 14 Scotland 33
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ian Humphreys, James Norton; Cons: Humphreys 2
Scotland: Tries: Roland Reid 2, Andrew Turnbull, Clark Laidlaw, Calum MacRae; Cons: Laidlaw 4
New Zealand 52 Ireland 5
Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Josh Blackie 4, Orene Ai'i, Rudi Wulf, Edwin Cocker, Isaia Toeava; Cons: Ai'i 6
Ireland: Try: Andy Maxwell
Ireland 19 USA 31
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Andy Maxwell, David Hewitt, Ian Humphreys; Cons: Humphreys 2
USA: Tries: Mike Palefau 2, David Fee 2, Jason Raven; Cons: Fee 3