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Monday, December 14, 2015

Cape Town 7s: Eagles Player Grades

As has been mentioned in the analysis of the Eagles run at the Cape Town 7s there were some hit and miss moments. The team did finish fifth and stayed third in the standings but at the same time they left some opportunities wanting. That's reflected in our player grades. Some players had strong matches and some had not so strong matches leading to mixed results.

Carlin Isles (7): One of the big things that stands out from Isles's performance is that his defense is rapidly improving. On more than one occasion he used his speed to save a try. In particular his work against Fiji helped save a try. He immediately put in a try of his own to put the Eagles back in the match.

Matai Leuta (6.5): Leuta is still growing but there are plenty of positive signs. He'll learned when to thrown a risky pass and when to go into contact but when he finally figures it out he is going to be a star.

Take the jump to read more.

Brett Thompson (7): Thompson is coming into rhythm and getting starts. He has deceptive speed that does him well but if there is one area of his game he could work on it's being more proactive at times.

Garrett Bender (6.5): You have to wonder if nagging injuries were slowing Bender down some during the tournament and he didn't even play on most of day two. He had solid moments but he also went missing from time to time. Having to shoulder some of the load from the absence of both Danny Barrett and Andrew Durutalo probably didn't help.

Zack Test (7): Test had another consistent tournament. He scores tries, he makes smart passes, and he's aggressive on defense. At the same time, as the leader of the team it's time for him to take it to even another level. He did it last year as the Eagles became contenders and now he needs to do it again as the Eagles become consistent winners.

Kevin Swiryn (6.5): Swiryn looks like he's having a lot of fun in his return to the Series. He has the ability to start from time to time but is an energy guy off the bench. That was evident against Kenya. The speed of the game changed since he was a regular on the team and going forward he's going to need to adjust.

Folau Niua (6): Passing is arguably Niua's greatest strength and at times he was able to find the right pass but at others he was hamstrung. That's not all his fault but he needs to find a way to find the right pass. Also, his restarts were so-so.

Maka Unufe (6.5): Unufe has the potential to be the best player on the Series. He has all the tools to succeed and you see those come out but not as regularly as they should.

Madison Hughes (7): Hughes was one of the leading point scorers in Cape Town and for just reason. He was active and showed up at the right moments to accept or make offloads throughout the match. His kicking also was helped by teammates centering the ball.

Perry Baker (6): Not as strong of a tournament as Dubai but still active. Like Isles, one of the keys for Baker going forward is that he's going to need to find a way to make a larger impact when teams change how they guard him.

Will Holder (6.5): Once again Holder didn't see a ton of time but when he was on the pitch he was mostly effective. His aerial presence is a major help and he can't stop scoring against New Zealand.

Thretton Palamo (6.5): It's hard to come in for one leg of a tournament and play well. Palamo wasn't asked to do a lot until the end of the tournament but came up big in the last few matches.

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