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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wellington 7s: Eagles Crash Out With Loss To Australia


Like they have done all tournament the Eagles played well in stretches but gave up too many penalties as the fell out of the Wellington 7s with a 17-5 loss to Australia in the Plate semi-finals. Overall, it wasn't the tournament the U.S. would have liked but even with mistakes the team competed nearly every match and were a few mistakes away from going even further in the tournament. Unlike in past years where they would have found themselves in the Bowl with a difficult tournament, they are now consistently making the Cup quarterfinals.

The Eagles began the match against Australia in bright fashion. Defensively the team got off on the right fight as they earned a turnover at the breakdown. On attack they brought more energy and looked to break through. However, that momentum was halted slightly when Kevin Swiryn went down with an injury outside of contact. Let's hope it's not serious as Swiryn coming back from serious knee injuries a few years ago is one of the best stories of the year.

Take the jump to read more.
Not only did Swiryn's injury put the Eagles a man down but it gave Australia the ball back. With the possession they simply worked their way down the pitch, taking care of the ball at the breakdown and finding their gaps. Eventually that would lead to the opening try and a 5-0 lead.

Still, credit to the Eagles for responding. Off the restart Test did well to freeze the defense by putting in a great step. He then found Madison Hughes streaking down the pitch with a perfect pass. Hughes was able to outrun the defense for the try. The conversion would miss and the match would be tied at 5-5.

Australia would take the lead at halftime, however. Once again using their possession they worked the ball down the pitch. Aiding them were several penalties from the Eagles. Eventually that led to their second try and a 12-5 lead at the break.

In the second half the U.S. had energy but penalties continued to cost them possession. Australia did well to take as much time off the clock as possible until there was only two minutes left. When Australia would score a late try with 30 seconds to go that was all they would need for the 17-5 win.

The Eagles will regroup and refocus ahead of next week's Sydney 7s. They will also enter that tournament in 6th place, having fallen from 3rd.

Starters: Barrett, Pinkleman, Test, Swiryn, Niua, Hughes, and Baker.

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