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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cape Town 7s: Eagles Beat New Zealand, Fall To Fiji

It was an up and down day again for the Eagles at the Cape Town 7s. It began with a loss to Kenya, saw them beat New Zealand for the third time in a row after never having beaten the team prior, and ended with a tough loss to Fiji in the Plate final. At the end of the day the team will still keep their place in the standings, crucially ahead of the likes of England, Australia, and New Zealand but still behind Fiji and South Africa.

Eagles 29-19 Fiji

In the Plate final the Eagles began the match with plenty of energy and possession but time and time again the Fijian defense came up big shutting down opportunities and earning turnovers.  It was off a turnover, this time a no look offload from Will Holder that found the defender rather than a teammate, that sprung Jasa Veremalua for the try and a 7-0 lead.

Throughout the match Fiji were simply clinical in their play. Whether it was knowing when to thrown an offload or when to take a quick line out they were consistently able to put the Eagles on their back foot. Eventually that pressure would be too much for the Eagles as Vatemo Ravouvou would grad Fiji's second try.

Take the jump to read more.

The Eagles would strike back just before the half. It began when Fiji nearly had a third try off an intercept only to see Carlin Isles track back in defense to save the try. Only a few phases later Zack Test did well to stay strong while being tackled and find Folau Niua who was able to race in for the try. At halftime Fiji led 12-7.

Building off the momentum from their last try the U.S. began the second half in strong fashion. Another offload found Madison Hughes who went in under the posts. With the conversion the U.S. took the lead at 14-12. Unfortunately that lead wouldn't last. Off the restart Ravouvou find the gap in the defense to go in for the try. A minute later the U.S. couldn't connect on their passes deep in their own end allowing Isake Katonibau to score and take a 24-14 lead.

From there Fiji looked in control. They almost had a try when the ball was ripped from the hands of Test but it was knocked on at the line. From the ensuing scrum Fiji were able to win the ball and go in to make it 29-14. The U.S. were able to grab a late consolation try from Brett Thompson to make the final 29-19.

Starters: Test, Palamo, Holder, Isles, Swiryn, Niua, Hughes

Eagles 28-14 New Zealand

As mentioned the Eagles beat New Zealand for the third time in a row, this time in the Plate semi-finals. Like in their match against Fiji the U.S. got off to a bright start. After a few chances the U.S. were finally able to find Kevin Swiryn, who picked up the ball after Will Holder had gotten close to the line, to open the scoring at 7-0. Still, New Zealand were quick to respond. Perry Baker was unable to hold his footing allowing New Zealand to take the ball back and put it into the hands of World Cup veteran Augustine Pulu for the try.

New Zealand have shown uncharacteristic errors the past two weeks and that was evident once again as their restart found touch. With the possession the U.S. were able to go through several phases where Zack Test found Thretton Palamo on the wing. After a series of offloads the team was able to find Holder who went in under the posts. At halftime the U.S. led 14-7.

The second half was even better. Carlin Isles came in for Baker in the match was was able to make an impact immediately, including with his defense. He then got on the board when he took the ball from the ruck and beat the defense for the try. Just a minute later Holder did well to win the restart and after more passes the ball found its way back into his hands for his second try of the match. Just like that the Eagles led 28-7 with three minutes to go. New Zealand were able to grab a late try after the hooter from Ambrose Curtis but the U.S. did enough to hold on for the win.

Starters: Test, Palamo, Holder, Swiryn, Niua, Hughes, Baker

1 comment:

  1. that fiji game was so frustrating! there were times that we looked in fine form and others that we kind seemed to give up. too many missed tackles, which i get: after a long weekend of rugby, tackling fijians is never fun. i just feel that we let ourselves be controlled and fiji brought it to us.

    it really goes back to not being super sharp against kenya. they have a good team, but they are so disorganized. we shouldnt lose to them the entire tour. frustrated, but optimistic i guess. the biggest difference is that this year we have disappointing games in the plate final and not in the shield semis. on to wellington.