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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wellington 7s: Fiji Too Clinical For U.S.


It's getting increasingly more difficult to beat Fiji on the Sevens Series as the Eagles found out in a tight 21-12 loss in the Cup quarterfinals. Fiji have been rolling all tournament and despite solid play from the Eagles the Fijians were simply too clinical as they took advantage of their opportunities. Next up for the Eagles is Australia in the Plate semi-finals at 10:30 p.m. et/7:30 p.m. pt.

The match was tight throughout as both teams had longer spells of possession but the defenses stepped up at nearly every occasion. That was the case early on as Fiji made the first break of the match but Danny Barrett did well to track back and force Fiji in the turnover. It wasn't immediately turned into a try as both teams made fantastic counter rucks.

To break the deadlock it took a fantastic try from Carlin Isles. Taking a low pass, Isles froze the defense, and the turned on the burners to go around the outside for the corner. After the long conversion from Madison Hughes was off the Eagles led 5-0.

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It was nearly a 12-0 lead before the break. Once again using possession to push down the pitch the Eagles got within ten meters. Unfortunately they couldn't prevent Fiji from poking the ball loose at the breakdown. Scooping up the ball Fiji were able to take it the length of the pitch for the try after the hooter. At the half Fiji led 7-5.

Fiji had most of the possession to start the second half but for several minutes the U.S. defense once again held. That ended when Jerry Tuwai was able to slip through a tackle and go in for the try. A knock on from the U.S. a few minutes later once again allowed Fiji to make a break to lead 21-5. Three times the U.S. committed a small error they could have gotten away with on most other teams and three times Fiji scored.

The U.S. did get a nice consolation try at the end through Will Holder thanks to more solid defense. Overall, it wasn't a bad performance from the Eagles and they stand a decent chance of making the Plate final, but Fiji were simply too much.

Starters: Barrett, Test, Swiryn, Isles, Niua, Palamo, and Hughes

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