USA Men’s Eagles 7s Wins Hong Kong 7s Pool

April 9, 2016

USA Men’s Eagles 7s Wins Hong Kong 7s Pool


Photo: Norma Salinas Photography – Perry Baker

Doug Coil

The USA Men’s Eagles entered Day 2 of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens after a Day 1 Pool with against Portugal. They had a difficult opponent in Argentina and then had the prospect of facing Australia later to close out Pool play.

USA v Argentina

The USA Men’s Eagles overcame an early 14 point deficit scoring 26 unanswered points to defeat Argentina 26-14 in the second round of Pool play at the Cathay Pacific, HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. With the win, the Eagles qualified for their ninth consecutive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup Quarterfinal. They will play Australia next to determine the Pool winner along with finalizing matchups.

The Eagles knocked on the opening restart and needed to defend. Argentina spead the defense getting the ball to Rodrigo Etchart who weaved his way through three defenders for a try.

The restart was won by Ben Pinkleman, who drew a panalty. Folau Niua kicked for territory and an attacking lineout. The ball was fed wide, but Maka Unufe was penalized and sent to the bin. (4′)

With the Eagles playing a man down for the next two minutes, Argentina was able to capitalize when Juan Pablo Estelles dove over in the corner and Gaston Revol converted from the touch line. Argentina increased their lead to 14-0.

The Eagles then had possession for some time deep in their territory. Their patience paid dividends as Perry Baker went around one defender on the wing before cutting inside the sweeper for a try under the posts. Madison Hughes converted and the eagles were down 7 points at halftime.

Mike Friday knows how to push buttons and the Eagles were a different team during the second half. Although Argentina won the restart, the Eagles quickly forced a turnover. Garrett Bender made a tackle on the wing and poached the ball. Danny Barrett showed his brute force in dispelling two defenders before offloading to Maka Unufe who created a missed tackle fot a try. Hughes converted and the score was tied at 14.

On the restart, Perry Baker reached and took a one handed grab and raced past defenders to give the Eagles their first lead 19-14. Baker then raced to secure a Hughes kick off the restart. Zack Test created a turnover. Soon after Hughes went in for a try, which he also converted. The Eagles now led 26-14.

This was the way the match would end with a 26-14 win and Australia up next in the thrid and final match of Pool play.

Men’s Eagles Sevens v. Argentina

  1. Nate Ebner 2 Ben Pinkelman 3 Danny Barrett 4 Garrett Bender 5 Zack Test 6 Peter Tiberio 7 Folau Niua 8 Maka Unufe 9 Nate Augspurger 10 Madison Hughes (C) 11 Perry Baker 12 Martin Iosefo

Starters: Pinkelman, Barrett, Bender, Niua, Unufe, Hughes, Baker

Argentina v. USA

1 Fernando Luna 2 Javier Ortega Desio 3 Ramiro Finco 4 Juan Pablo Estelles 5 Axel Mullert 6 Segundo Tuculet 7 Nicolas Brizzone 8 Gaston Revol 9  Rodrigo Etchart 10 Bautista Excurra 11 Bautista Delguy 12 Sebastian Cancelliere

Men’s Eagles Sevens 26

Tries: Baker (2), Unufe, Hughes, Conversions: Hughes (3), Discipline: Unufe (Yellow)

Argentina 14

Tries: Etchart, Estelles, Conversions: Revol (2)

USA v Australia

Although the Men’s Eagles Sevens gave up an early try, they then scored four of their own to defeat Australia 22-7 in their third pool play match. With the win the Eagles, the Eagles win Pool C and will play South Africa in the Cup quarterfinals Saturday at 11:20 ET. This is the Eagles ninth consecutive Cup Quarterfinal.

The Eagles surrendered a quick score to Australia to begin the match when Folau Niua was penalized on the opening restart and Australia attacked with Allan Fa’alava’au  going in for a try. James Stannard converted and the Eagles found themselves down 7-0.

The Eagles then had the majority of the possession during the first half before the ball was spun to Bender on the wing after a breakdown for a try. This narrowed the scoring with the Eagles 2 points behind.

That changed quickly in the last minute prior to halftime. Australia was penalized at the breakdown and Niua kicked for touch for a lineout at the 22. Danny Barrett then did what he does best, in bowling over Stannard. Martin Iosefo keep the ball alive. Niua then executed a dummy, drawing in two defenders before a switch to Hughes had him crossing the line after the hooter for a try that he also converted. At halftime the Eagles led 12-7.

The second half began with Australia gaining possession off a Niua restart. The Eagles applied defensive pressure and a Iosefo tackle at midfield caused a loose ball. The Eagles moved the ball to the wing before it went into touch. On the ensuing lineout by Australia, the ball was overthrown and resulted in a Perry Baker try. He had only entered the match prior to this play.

The Eagles were not finished scoring as time dwindled. After Peter Tiberio was tackled, Australia was penalized for not rolling away. Folau Niua ticked for touch. The Ball quickly went to the wing where Baker was tackled. While the focus was on Baker, that was enough time for Pinkelman to touch down for a try. The final was Eagles 22 and Australia 7.

After going undefeated in pool play, the first time all season, the Eagles will face South Africa in the Cup Quarterfinals. Although the Eagles have been on the losing end three times this season, the Eagles have beaten South Africa and it is a match that they will need to perform well.

This match is being streamed on the World Rugby website and the kick off is at 11:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

Men’s Eagles Sevens v. Australia

  1. Nate Ebner 2 Ben Pinkelman 3 Danny Barrett 4 Garrett Bender 5 Zack Test 6 Peter Tiberio 7 Folau Niua 8 Maka Unufe 9 Nate Augspurger 10 Madison Hughes (C) 11 Perry Baker 12 Martin Iosefo

Australia v USA

  1. Nick Cummins 2 Tom Kingston 3 Sam Myers 4 Lewis Holland 5 James Stannard 6 Con Foley 7 Cameron Clark 8 Stephan Van Der Walt 9 Ed Jenkins 10 Allan Fa’alava’au 11 John Porch 12 Boyd Killingworth

Men’s Eagles Sevens 22
Tries: Bender, Hughes, Baker, Pinkelman, Conversions: Hughes

Australia 7
Tries: Fa’alava’au

Men’s Eagles Sevens: Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

  1. Portugal – W 21-5
  2. Argentina – W 26-14
  3. Australia – W 22-7

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant