The USA Men’s Eagles Sevens entered the Canada Sevens in first-place after winning the USA Sevens Cup Final for the second consecutive year and advancing to five consecutive Cup Finals.
The USA advanced to the Cup Quarterfinals against England after a 40-14 win over Wales, a 33-19 win over Chile and a 19-7 loss to South Africa. England jumped out to a 19-0 lead at the break before the Eagles Sevens came back with three converted tries to win 21-19 at death. The team then lost to France 33-5 in the Cup Semifinals and 24-14 in the Bronze final.
With the 4th place finish at the Canada Sevens, the Eagles Sevens tops the HSBC Sevens Series standings with 113 points. New Zealand is in second with 106, while Fiji has 101 and South Africa 89.
At the end of the HSBC Sevens Series, the Top 4 teams will automatically qualify for the Olympics in Japan in 2020.
Cup Quarterfinals: USA vs England
England jumped out to a 7-0 lead from a try by Will Muir with a conversion by Dan Bibby. After Madison Hughes was sent to the bin for an intentional knock-on, Muir added another try, 12-0.
A Tom Mitchell strip of a USA ball and a penalty then led to a Tom Bowen try and a Bibby conversion for a 19-0 lead at the break.
Mike Friday provided insight to the team during the break and the USA opened the second half with a try and a conversion by Madison Hughes. The team cut the lead even further after a counter-ruck penalty led to a Ben Pinkelman try under the posts with Hughes converting to cut the lead to within a try, 19-14.
The USA attacked after a Dan Bibby tackled Martin Iosefo while he was in the air. Folau Niua kicked for touch and the Eagles Sevens attacked from a lineout. After several phases, Iosefo offloaded to Stephen Tomasin on a wraparound for a try in the death to tie the match 19 all. Madison Hughes then slotted the conversion to claim a 21-19 comeback win.
The USA has had an incredible run in the HSBC Sevens Series this season in advancing to the Cup Semifinals for the sixth consecutive stop. They play France next, who beat Samoa 35-12, for a chance at their sixth Cup Final to begin the 2018-2019 Series. The other semifinal will have South Africa facing Fiji.
The USA will leave Vancouver in first place in the HSBC Sevens standings. They had 98 points going into the Series and would have at least 113 points with a 4th place finish and 120 points by winning the Cup. A 5th place finishes by New Zealand would give them 106 points, while a Cup win for Fiji would also give them 106 points.
The battle for 4th in the standings has South Africa edging England as they would have 82 points for 4th and 89 win a Cup win. The most points England can achieve is for a 5th place finish and 81 points.
Cup Semifinals: USA vs France
A Stephen Parez poaches after a tackle on Matai Leuta, led to a long try by Parez and a conversion by Barraque for a 7-0 lead by France.
France then pressured the Eagles Sevens and Leuta was trapped in-goal and the ball stripped by Alerte Villiere for a try to extend the lead to 12-0. A Parez break and an offload to Marvin O’Connor then gave France a 19-0 lead at the break.
Handling errors and mistakes continued in the second half for the Eagles Sevens. An offload from Iosefo to Hughes was not handled and JP Barraque gathered and scored under the posts and converted to lead 26-0. Barrraque then scored another for a 33-0 lead.
The Eagles Sevens added a last minute try by Marcus Tupuola to cut the final score to 33-5.
With the loss, the USA will play Fiji for the Bronze Medal. It is the first time this season that the team has not advanced to the Cup Final. France, who beat the USA for the first time in three years, will play South Africa for the Cup.
Bronze Final: USA vs Fiji
Head Coach Mike Friday brought in the reserves to start for the Bronze medal.
Fiji went wide with Alasio Naduva scoring the first try to take a 5-0 lead. The USA answered back with a try by Kevon Williams to take a 7-5 lead.
Fiji added a try and conversion prior to the break from Terio Veilawa for a 12-7 lead at the break.
Early in the second half Fiji extended their lead to 17-7 as Sevuloni Moncenacagi split two defenders and raced in for a try.
On the ensuing restart Kevon Williams was hit in the air and resulted in a Fiji player sent to the bin. The Eagles capitalized with Carlin Isles adding a try to cut the lead to 17-14. A quick try by Vilimoni Botitu sealed a 24-14 Fiji win to take the Bronze. South Africa claimed the Cup over France.
USA took 4th at the Canada Sevens and extended their first-place lead over New Zealand with 113 points to 106. Fiji is in third with 101, with South Africa moving into fourth with 89, while England slipped to fifth with 80. Australia is a distant sixth with 65 points.
With four stops remaining, the Series moves to Hong Kong next. Singapore, London, and then Paris follow, with the top four teams in the standings qualifiying for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
USA, England, France, Fiji Squads & Preview
USA: 1 Carlin Isles 2 Ben Pinkelman 3 Joe Schroeder 4 Matai Leuta 5 Brett Thompson 6 Kevon Williams 7 Folau Niua 8 Maceo Brown 9 Stephen Tomasin 10 Madison Hughes (C) 11 Marcus Tupuola 12 Martin Iosefo 13 Ben Broselle
England: 1 Richard de Carpentier 2 Will Muir 3 Phil Burgess 4 Dan Norton 5 Charlton Kerr 6 Tom Mitchell (C) 7 Dan Bibby 8 Tom Bowen 9 Will Edwards 10 Ryan Olowofela 11 Ethan Waddleton 12 Harry Glover 13 Jamie Barden
France: 1 Jonathan Laugel 2 Marvin O’Connor 3 Piere Mignot 4 Thibaud Mazzoleni 5 Stephen Perez 6 Samuel Alerte 7 Remi Siega 8 Pierre Gilles Lafafia 9 Gabin Villiere 10 Jean Pascal Barraque (C) 11 Antonine Zeghdar 12 Sadek Deghmache 13 Paul Bonnefond.
South Africa: 1 Zain Davids 2 Phillip Snyman (C) 3 Impi Visser 4 Sakoyisa Makata 5 Werner Kok 6 Johannes Pretorius 7 Branco du Preez 8 Selvyn Davids 9 Justin Geduld 10 Stedman Gans 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi 12 Muller du Plessis 13 Kurt-Lee Arendse
Fiji: 1 Sevuloni Mocenacagi 2 Josua Vakrunabili 3 Kailone Nasoko (C) 4 Paula Dranisinukula 5 Mesulame Kunavula 6 Meli Derenalagi 7 Vilimoni Botitu 8 Asaeli Tuivuaka 9 Jerry Tuwai 10 Alasio Tuimaba 11 Aminiasi Tuimaba 12 Terio Velilawa 13 Isoa Tabu
Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach Mike Friday
Assistant Coach Anthony Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach Jon Hood
Athletic Trainer Brian Green
Team Manager Scott Novack
HSBC USA Sevens Schedule
- vs Wales W 40-14
- vs Chile W 33-19
- vs South Africa L 19-7 + Pool A Eagles Sevens Recap
- Cup Quarterfinals vs England W 21-19
- Cup Semifinals vs France L 33-5
- Bronze Final vs Fiji L 24-14