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Friday, December 4, 2015

Dubai 7s: Eagles Beat New Zealand In Dramatic Fashion

It was dramatic and it was historic as the U.S. not only beat New Zealand for the first time on the World Sevens Series but they also booked a spot in the Cup quarterfinals at the same time. After their loss to France and having to face the All Blacks a spot in the final eight didn't look great for the Eagles but with resilience and hard work, the team put in a memorable performance on their way to the win.

The beginning and end of the match would have a similar feel as Perry Baker split then defense and rumbled over for a try not long into the match. It all started off a great set move from a line out. With Madison Hughes converting the Eagles led 7-0.

Take the jump to read more.
However, New Zealand dominated the possession for nearly the entire match. The only thing stopping them from scoring was strong defense from the Eagles. It took a very controversial yellow card to Baker for knocking the ball down for New Zealand to finally score. Gilles Kaka did all the hard work before DJ Forbes was able to score. New Zealand would continue to pressure the rest of the half but couldn't take further advantage of their superior numbers and the match went into halftime at 7-7.

The U.S. couldn't stay on the right side of referee Mike Adamson's whistle all match and that continued to cost them in the second half. After the U.S. were penalized controversially again on the restart New Zealand eventually earned a line out. From that line out they worked a brilliant set play that say Sam Dickson score.

New Zealand would continue to have further opportunities and some strange calls (a knock-on that wasn't a knock-on) and fair calls gave them the way. However, the U.S. defense held firm and they nearly had a hard when a long chip downfield was nearly recovered by Baker.

With less than a minute to go New Zealand did everything they could to wind down the clock. That nearly worked until they will called for a penalty as the clock literally ticked zero. From the tap the U.S. spun the ball out to Baker who raced around the defense and beat a couple of defenders for the try and to equal the score. The U.S. went from having the match essentially being over to an opportunity to win. Hughes gave them that win with a crucial and difficult conversion from the side.

Not making the Cup quarterfinals would have been a disastrous start for the Eagles. Being able to play hard and earn a first ever win against New Zealand shows the kind of resilience this team has. They will likely play South Africa tomorrow.

Tries: Baker (2)
Conversions: Hughes (2)
Starters: Leuta, Bender, Test, Niua, Unufe, Hughes, Baker


  1. Wow, awesome result! Any video of the games up yet? Other than just highlights?

  2. full replays here, game will be put up in a bit