The USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Sevens team won their Pool at the Cape Town Sevens going undefeated on day one beating Japan 54-0, Spain 38-17 and Argentina 31-14. The team will meet England in the final Cup Quarterfinal match of day two.
The USA advanced to the Cup Semifinals for the second consecutive Series stop win a 19-12 win against England. This set up a semi-final match against New Zealand. The team dominated both possession and territory from start at won 31-12 and will meet Fiji in the Cup Final. This is the first time that the U.S. has appeared in back-to-back Cup Finals.
As the result of South Africa defeat of New Zealand 10-5 in the Bronze Final, the USA is in first place in the standings. In the Cup Final Fiji defeated the USA 29-15.
After the silver medal at the HSBC World Sevens Series, Dubai Sevens, the USA finished with another silver at the Cape Town Sevens and moved into first place in the Series standings. The top four teams at the end of the 2019 HSBC World Sevens Series will qualify for the Olympics in Japan.
Cape Town Sevens Finals
The Following were the Finals matches at the Cape Town Sevens: Cup Final Fiji 29-15 USA, Bronze Final South Africa 10-5 New Zealand, 5th Place England 14-7 Spain, Challenge Trophy Argentina 38-14 Samoa, 13th Place Kenya 33-26 Wales
The third stop on the HSBC World Sevens Series will be on January 26-27, 2019 at Hamilton, New Zealand.
World Rugby 7s also announced that Rasta Rasivhenge has refereed his last match of sevens. Rasta has always been a class guy, who has represented rugby well. He will be missed, but will continue to referee rugby XVs.
Cup Quarterfinals: USA vs. England
England claimed the restart and Alex Davis went down the wide channel for a try and a conversion by Mitchell for a 7-0 lead.
The USA answered right back from a Folau Niua chip ahead and Martin Iofeso gathered the ball and then popped the ball to Madison Hughes for a try and a conversion to knot the score at 7 all.
Perry Baker tracked down an attacker saving a try and then the defense held. A dropped pass then led to a final England attack with Dan Bibby evading a tackle for a try and a 12-7 lead at the break.
The second half restart had Perry Baker being taken out in the air. The USA could not take advantage and a knock on gave a scrum to England. The USA pressured and Dan Norton was taken into touch by Perry Baker. Several phases later, Danny Barrett dove over for a try in the right corner to tie the score 12 all.
England was penalized on the restart giving the USA the ball with just over a minute left. Strong runs by Iosefo and then by Danny Barrett for a try gave the Eagles Sevens a 19-12 lead after a Hughes conversion.
England claimed the restart at death and after several phases were penalized at the breakdown. The USA tapped and kicked into touch for the win and will meet New Zealand in the Cup semifinals.
Cup Semi-Final: USA vs. New Zealand
The Cup semifinals at the Cape Town Sevens matched host country South Africa against Fiji and the top two teams at the Dubai Sevens, New Zealand and the USA facing each other.
In the first Cup semi-final, Fiji beat South Africa at death 17-12 and advanced to the Cup Final with South Africa to the Bronze.
The USA claimed the opening restart and after a strong run by Martin Iosefo to the 22-meters, Stephen Tomasin finished with a try in the left corner for a 5-0 lead.
The USA claimed their second consecutive restart and after a kick ahead by Niua, the Eagles had a scrum. New Zealand was penalized, and after strong runs by Iosefo and Barrett, Martin Iosefo bulled his way over the line and Madison Hughes converted to take a 12-0 lead. The USA have controlled the possession and territory for the first five minutes.
Stellar defense by the USA prevented a New Zealand score and then Danny Barrett received an offload from Ben Pinkelman and fended two tacklers for a try and conversion by Hughes for a 19-0 lead at the break.
The USA opened the second half with a long run by Madison Hughes, who offloaded to Martin Iosefo. Then it was out by Folau Niua to Perry Baker fora try and a 24-0 lead.
New Zealand then scored after a turnover to cut the lead to 24-7. The USA answered right back with a punctuating try by Carlin Isles and a Tomasin conversion for a 31-7 lead.
New Zealand’s Taylor Hough scored in the final seconds for a final of 31-12 to the USA. With the win, the USA will face Fiji in the Cup Final with South Africa facing New Zealand for the Bronze.
This is the first time that the USA has appeared in two consecutive Cup Finals. Like Dubai, it was the first time in a Cape Town Sevens Cup Final.
USA vs. Fiji
The USA are appearing in their first back to back Cup Finals. With South Africa defeating New Zealand for the bronze 10-5, the USA will move to first place in the HSBC Sevens Series.
The USA put the ball into Perry Baker’s hands twice, but good Fiji defense stopped the attacks. Fiji then countered with a try by Nasoko to take a 5-0 lead.
Fiji extended their lead to 12-0 after a Vilimoni Botitu intercept try and conversion. Mocenacagi added a third try after a Perry Baker dropped pass for a 19-0 lead at the break.
Botitu scored a second try to begin the half, pushing the lead to 22-0. Fiji only made six passes while scoring their fourth try, due to capitalizing on U.S. errors.
The restart then went directly into touch and Folau Niua passed to Ben Pinkelman, who fended three tacklers in scoring in the corner.
Fiji then clinched the match with a second score by Nasoko and a conversion by Ravouvou for a 29-5 lead. The USA answered back with tries by Pinkelman and Isles to cut the final score to 29-15.
Fiji claimed their first Cape Town Sevens title since 2005 and moved into third place in the Series standings. The USA won consecutive silver medals, the first time that has happened, and leave South Africa in first place in the standings.
Danny Barrett received the UL Mark of Excellence award.
Men’s Eagles Sevens Starting Roster
Men’s Eagles Sevens Roster: 1 Carlin Isles 2 Ben Pinkelman 3 Danny Barrett 4 Matai Leuta 5 Brett Thompson 6 Kevon Williams 7 Folau Niua 8 Maceo Brown* 9 Steve Tomasin 10 Madison Hughes (Captain) 11 Perry Baker 12 Martin Iosefo 13 Marcus Tupuola* (Injury Reserve)
All players are part of the Men’s Sevens residency program. Maceo Brown made first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance, scoring a try again Spain.
Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony “Rocky” Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack
HSBC Cape Town Sevens Schedule
Cape Town Sevens Preview
vs. Japan W 54-0
vs. Spain W 38-17
vs. Argentina W 31-14
Cup QFs vs. England W 19-12 Cup
SFs vs New Zealand W 31-12
Cup Final vs. Fiji L 29-15