February 7, 2016
Eagles 7s Exit Sydney After Kenya Loss
Sydney 7s Day Two
Day two began with Cup Quarterfinal play for the Eagles 7s against New Zealand. Last week the New Zealand team took over third place in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after winning the Wellington Sevens. The Eagles 7s have a three match win streak on line against a New Zealand team that has won nine matches since their loss to the United States.
The USA startes a team that can match New Zealand for their physical style of play in Barrett, Palamo, Holder, Test, Niua, Hughes, and Baker.
The first half featured two quality teams trading phases, while both playing a physical style of play. In an attack by the Eagles 7s deep into New Zealand territory, Tim Mikkelson was yellow carded with two minutes remaining before halftime.
The Eagles were unable to take advantage of his time in the bin, as New Zealand won a counter ruck and it was kicked up field by Kurt Baker. Madison Hughes challenged Baker in trying to reach the ball that Zack Test retrieved. Hughes however, was cited by the referee for his challenge of Baker and went to the bin.
Soon after Ben Lam split defenders for the first try of the match. This was converted by Baker and New Zealand led 7-0. On the restart, the Eagles turned the ball over and Augustine Pulu turned the corner for a try. The conversion was missed and the Eagles were down 12-0 at halftime
The second half had an attack by the Eagles end as Will Holder was taken into touch. The ensuing Lineout resulted in a USA penalty and Rieko Ioane was able to navigate around Hughes for a try. Baker converted and the score increased to 19-0.
New Zealand was able to gain a fourth try by Tim Mikkelson shortly after Pulu completed a bone jarring tackle on Carlin Isles.
The USA still maintained their resolve and attacked prior to the match ending. A penalty was awarded for a high tackle by New Zealand. A tap and go by Folau Niua resulted in a try under the posts. This was converted and the final score had New Zealand winning 24-7.
New Zealand advanced to the Cup Semi-finals, and eventually won the Sydney 7s over Australia. The Eagles 7s meanwhile went to the Plate Semi-finals against Kenya.
Plate Semi-Final – Eagles 7s vs. Kenya
Eagles starters for the match against Kenya were Barrett, Holder, Hughes, Isles, Niua, Pinkelman and Test.
Eagles versus Kenya was all about the Jekyell and Hyde appearance by the Eagles 7s team in this match.
The first half featured the Eagles on attack. After a breakdown, Carlin Isles went right up the middle for a long try. Madison Hughes converted and the Eagles had a 7-0 lead. Soon after, a Zack Test offload to Ben Pinkelman ended with Carlin Isles adding a second try and Hughes converted. Finally, a Test to Pinkelman offload resulted in a 21-0 halftime lead after Hughes converted once again.
During the second half, the Eagles momentum crumbled into a Rocky Horror Picture Show. First Kenya’s Oscar Ayodi split defenders for a try. (21-5 Eagles). Billy Odhiambo then followed with another try. The conversion was made and the Eagle lead narrowed to 21-12. The momentum swung in Kenya’s favor. They were able to exploit poor channel coverage and tackling. Amonde narrowed the score to 21-17 with a third try for Kenya. Mwale completed the meltdown by the Eagles with a last try for a 24-21 win against the United States.
The Eagles second half play I chalk up to an aberration and will likely be discussed and chalked up to development learning pains. I fully expect to see the Eagles 7s in Las Vegas March 4-6th being a force once again.
I also want to wish Martin Iosefo a speedy recovery. He was injured against England during the third Pool match. At Las Vegas the Eagles will be in Pool D with South Africa, Wales and Canada.
Men’s Eagles Sevens | HSBC Sydney Sevens
1. Carlin Isles
2. Matai Leuta
3. Danny Barrett
4. Ben Pinkelman
5. Zack Test
6. Martin Iosefo
7. Folau Niua
8. Thretton Palamo
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes
11. Perry Baker
12. Will Holder
Men’s Eagles Sevens | HSBC Sydney Sevens
v. Wales – W 42-0
v. Japan – W 33-17
v. England – L 17-14
Cup QF v. New Zealand – L 24-7
Plate SF v. Kenya – L 24-21
Day One: DJCoil Rugby Recap Eagles 7s Advance to Cup Quarter-Finals at Sydney