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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sydney 7s: Eagles Out After Loss To Kenya

The Eagles are out of the Sydney 7s after falling to Kenya 24-21 in the Plate semi-finals. It was a match that the Eagles should have won and head coach Mike Friday will be bitterly disappointed his team gave up a 21-0 halftime lead to fall at this stage of a tournament for the second week in a row. While the team is still making the Cup quarterfinals consistently they have slipped a step from their form that won the London 7s.

Despite the eventual loss the Eagles got off to a great start. Carlin Isles made a cover tackle on a sure Kenyan try and just a few seconds later it was Isles that would get the ball deep in the Eagles end, put in a fake, and then find the gap for the easy try.

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The Eagles continued their hot run after the try. Dominating possession and punishing Kenyan mistakes the U.S. got tries from Isles and Ben Pinkleman to increase their lead to 21-0.

In the second half the wheels came off. Kenya scored quickly into the half to put a warning shot in to the Eagles. That shot wasn't heeded and Kenya popped in two quick tries to climb within four at 21-17.

The U.S. tried to push in a winning try to seal the match and came close on a couple of occasions but the Kenyan defense came up firm each time. On the flip side, the U.S. tackling suddenly fell off as they couldn't tackle anything. It was that lack of tackling that allowed Kenya to score the winning try with 45 seconds left. The Eagles had one last chance but the restart bounced forward off Matai Leuta, ending the match.

With the Vegas 7s up next expect the team to regroup. Head coach Mike Friday and staff will likely push players to the edge hoping to chance the results in March.

Starters: Test, Hughes, Niua, Barrett, Pinkleman, Holder, Isles

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