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Friday, January 29, 2016

Wellington 7s: Eagles Escape Samoa Scare

In a match that most fans in the U.S. couldn't watch thanks to technical difficulties on the World Rugby 7s stream, the U.S. came back to defeat Samoa 24-20 in a thrilling first match at the Wellington 7s. Down 20-19 with time nearly up after Samoa hit a drop goal the U.S. kept the pressure on to push down the pitch. After coming close to losing the match a couple of times a loose ball was scooped up by Carlin Isles who sped in for the winning score. The Eagles had pull out the match by the skin of their teeth and increased their chances of making the Cup quarterfinals in the process.

The match started on a positive note for the Eagles. Good work from Will Holder and Zack Test put the Eagles closet to the line. From there it took Danny Barrett holding off a defender before passing to Perry Baker for the try.

Take the jump to read more.

Collecting the ensuing restart the Eagles once again pushed their way to the try line. Samoa did gain the ball back but Baker was there to intercept a pass at the 22 meter line and run in for the score. With five minutes gone in the half the Eagles led 12-0.

Still, it wasn't all pretty for the Eagles. In particular they had troubles with penalties at key moments. It was penalties that allowed Samoa to get back in the game as they gained more possession. That possession soon turned into a try for Falemiga Selesele to cut the lead to 12-5 at the break.

Samoa were the first on the board in the second half as the aptly named Samoa Toloa crossed over. Suddenly the U.S. led went from 12-0 to only 12-10. A minute later Test would gain another try to extend the U.S. lead to 19-10 with the Madison Hughes conversion.

For awhile it looked like that lead would hold before Samoa was able to take advantage of U.S. penalties to get in scoring position with not much time left. With seemingly the clock run out DJ Tusitala hit a drop kick to put Samoa up 20-19. Still, with time left the U.S. did well to keep composure and put in for the final try.

With the feed from Wellington now working fans can watch the U.S. play England at 8:54 p.m. et/5:54 a.m. pt.

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

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