Eagles Sevens Thrill Crowd, Win Pool & USA Sevens QFs
The HSBC World Sevens Series in Las Vegas, Nevada is being held March 2-4, 2018. The Men’s Eagles Sevens have competed in the Bronze Final for the three consecutive years and hope to beat Fiji in the Cup Semi-finals to advance to the Finals this year.
The Eagles Sevens team was on fire on day one, beating Samoa 26-7 and Australia 28-7. They then beat Spain 28-17 on day two, before winning 17-12 against England in the Cup quarterfinals. This sets up a match against Fiji at 1:12 pm PST (4:12 pm EST). The winner will face either South Africa or Argentina in the Cup Final, while the loser will play for the Bronze.
Las Vegas Sevens Pool C
Eagles Sevens vs. Samoa
The Eagles Sevens Folau Niua kicked to begin the match with the ball bouncing out for a Samoa lineout at the 10-meter line. After a steal by the Eagles, Perry Baker found a gap and Danny Barrett finished with a try in the first minute.
Samoa came right back with a try by David Afamasaga, which was converted to take a 7-5 lead.
On the restart, high tackle on Leuta led to Martin Iosefo’s 40th career try. Folau Niua converted to reclaim the lead 12-7. The restart went to the Eagles and after a scrum, Iosefo drew in defenders and offloaded to Barrett for his second try. Niua again converted, pushing the lead to 19-7. Gordan Langkilde received a yellow card for a high tackle on Barrett during the action.
After the break, a Samoa penalty led to an Eagles lineout. Pinkelman soared and Maka Unufe stepped before Ben Pinkelman finished with a try. Niua’s conversion increased the lead to 26-7.
Langkilde didn’t learn his previous lesson and received another yellow for the same offense, so double yellow resulted in a red card.
With the match in hand, Eagles reserves had some early playing time, with Cody Melphy gaining his first Eagles 7s cap.
Samoa then took advance of a USA penalty with Tomasi Alosio adding a try to narrow the final score to 26-12, Eagles.
Eagles Sevens vs. Australia
The Eagles scored three first-half tries, all converted by Niua to take a 21-0 lead at the break. The first try was by Perry Baker after the team went through multiple phases. The second came after a turnover with an offload by Unufe to Iosefo for a try. The third came from an Unufe offload, as Iosefo stepped two defenders in scoring.
The Eagles claimed the second half restart and Kevon Williams found a gap and slipped the ball to Perry Baker for his second try. Niua continued his conversions for a 28-0 lead.
Finally, Australia had some consolation in going through phases and Dylan Pletsch adding a try, which was converted to end the match 28-7 to the Eagles.
Eagles Sevens vs. Spain
The Eagles Sevens jumped out to another fast start off a Folau Niua dummy for a try and a conversion. Danny Barrett then ran within 5-meters and Joe Schroeder peeled around Niua for a try under the posts. Niua slotted the conversion for a 14-0 lead.
The team then had some defensive lapses as Spain scored two tries. The first came from a Jaike Carter grub across the pitch with Josh Taylor just getting his fingers on the ball ahead of Joe Schroeder. The second came right after Perry Baker saved a potential try by Igor Genua on a tackle before Francesco Hernandez scored the try. The lead was narrowed to 14-12 after the last conversion.
The ensuing restart went to Baker. Maka Unufe continued his stellar play stepping two defenders and then raced in for a long try, which was then converted by Niua increasing the lead to 21-12. Carlin Isles then showed his speed, adding another and it was quickly 28-12 after Isles added a conversion.
Spain would get a final try in the corner by Inaki Villanueva as the final score was 28-17 in favor of the Eagles. With the win, the Eagles Sevens team won Pool C and would meet Pool B second place team, England in the Cup Quarterfinals.
Cup Quarterfinals – Eagles Sevens vs. England
The match against England had numerous penalties for both sides for players not supporting their body weight at the breakdown.
The Eagles Sevens team took an early 5-0 lead after a not releasing penalty by England. This led to a Baker try after a Niua offload. Baker then added a second try after a poach by the team and sending the ball wide. Niua then converted for a 12-0 lead.
England answered back with a Lindsay-Hague try just prior to the break, but the Eagles had a 12-5 lead.
The second half had Baker gaining a hat trick to increase the lead to 17-5. Dan Norton then narrowed the lead to 17-12 after the try was converted.
Tempers flared prior to the end of the match, but after a penalty, Niua kicked into touch for the win. The Eagles will now face Fiji in the Cup Semi-Finals. This is the 4th consecutive time that the Eagles have advanced to the Semi-finals and then hope that this year they will advance to the Finals before the home crowd.
Eagles Sevens: 1 Carlin Isles 2 Ben Pinkelman 3 Danny Barrett 4 Matai Leuta 5 Joe Schroeder 6 Malon Al-Jiboori 7 Folau Niua 8 Maka Unufe 9 Cody Melphy 10 Kevon Williams 11 Perry Baker 12 Martin Iosefo 13 Chris Mattina
Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach – Mike Friday
Assistant Coach – Chris Brown
Physiotherapist – Brian Green
Team Manager – Scott Novack
Men’s Eagles Sevens Schedule – Pool C Las Vegas 7s Tournament
- vs. Samoa – W 26-12
- vs. Australia – W 28-7
- vs. Spain – W 28-17
- QFs vs. England – W 17-12
- SFs vs. Fiji –
- Final or Bronze vs. South Africa or Argentina