Eagles Held Up In-Goal & Lose to South Africa in Cup Semi-finals

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March 12, 2017

Eagles Held Up In-Goal & Lose to South Africa in Cup Semi-finals

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Photo: All World Photo

Doug Coil

The USA Men’s Eagles Sevens beat Japan, France and Australia convincingly in winning Pool C at the Canada Sevens at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As a result, they advanced to the Cup Quarterfinals against Argentina, winning 14-12.

In the Cup semi-finals they faced HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leader South Africa, who has been in the Cup Finals for all five previous series. Last weekend, South Africa came back to beat the USA 20-17 at the USA Sevens Cup Semi-finals. Today, the Eagles gave South Africa all they could handle, as Andrew Durutalo was held up by Werner Kok in-goal after the hooter. South Africa won 14-10 and will meet England in the Cup Final, while the Eagles will meet Fiji for bronze at 8:52pm ET.

At the end of the Canada Sevens, the USA will be in fifth place in the standings alone and will have inched their way up the standings ladder toward fourth place New Zealand.

USA v South Africa

The USA Men’s Eagles were without Danny Barrett, who was suspended for three matches after his yellow card and accidental boot to a defender in the previous match.

After some back and forth, the Eagles Ben Pinkelman counter rucked and Perry Baker began the attack. Offloads by Stephen Tomasin to Andrew Durutalo sprung Martin Iosefo for a try and a 5-0 lead. Hughes conversion was wide left.

While the Eagles had most of the possession during the first half. South Africa had the last attack and Phillip Snyman went in for a try from a breakdown. Cecil Afrika converted to take a 7-5 lead at halftime.

After a couple penalties by South Africa, Folau Niua opted for kicking to touch and winning the lineout. Perry Baker was defended well on the left side of the pitch drawing a couple of defenders. That gave numbers on the right and quick hands created an Andrew Durutalo try in the corner to reclaim the lead 10-7.

South Africa came right back as Rosco Specman found a gap for a try and with Cecil Afrika’s conversion the the Blitzbok held a 14-10 lead.

The restart went deep to Ben Pinkelman. After going wide to Baker, South Africa defended well, but the Blitzbok were penalized again. Madison Hughes and Perry Baker moved the attack inside the 22 meters and Andrew Durutalo bulled his way over the in-goal line, but to the Eagles’ dismay, Werner Kok held up the ball in referee’s time. South Africa breathed a sigh of relief in winning 14-10.

In the other Cup Semi-final, England beat Fiji 40-7 setting up a Cup final of South Africa and England. The bronze medal match will see the USA facing Fiji at 8:52pm ET.

Men’s Eagles Sevens: 1. Pat Blair 2. Ben Pinkelman 3. Danny Barrett 4. Matai Leuta 5. Walt Elder 6. Andrew Durutalo 7. Folau Niua 8. Maka Unufe 9. Stephen Tomasin 10. Madison Hughes (C) 11. Perry Baker 12. Martin Iosefo

Men’s Eagles Sevens – HSBC Canada Sevens

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant