Sunday, March 13, 2016

Vancouver 7s: Tired U.S. Drop Plate Final To Samoa

After two weeks of grueling sevens the Eagles showed their first signs of fatigue leading to a number of errors and a 31-19 loss to Samoa in the Plate final. The Eagles had run out the same seven players against Fiji earlier in the day and then didn't make a lot of substitutions against Wales. Put it all together and the Eagles were wiped heading into the Plate final. Still, the team won't like making excuses and will be disappointed with the rest, especially when you consider how well they played for most of the weekend.

The story of the match was possession. Whether it was simple errors and Samoa being stronger at the breakdown the U.S. lacked a lot of the ball throughout the match. That was the case early on despite some solid work at the breakdown from Ben Pinkelman, a player who has excelled at the tournament so far. After the U.S. spilled the ball Samoa quickly went the other way for a 7-0 lead.

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Soon Samoa had their second off of simple possession. Without the ball the Eagles had to do a lot of defending, lending itself to more tired legs.

The U.S. did catch a big break before halftime. After a call finally went their way Garrett Bender busted through the defense. Knowing he couldn't beat the last defender he waited for the supporting Hughes who went the rest of the way for the score. At halftime the Eagles trailed 12-7.

The first of the substitutions came early as Seth Halliman replaced Perry Baker but Samoa still had most of the possession. Two quick tries, the second of which came off a won restart gave them a tough 26-7 advantage.

The U.S. would score through Madison Hughes to cut into the lead with two minutes left but when Samoa scored again it would be a deficit too large. Credit to the Eagles who persevered a scored a try at the end through Ben Leatigaga.

TIAR"s Vancouver coverage is brought to you by Canterbury USA.


  1. I have to say, you can't be anything but impressed with where the USA are right now in Sevens. With the injuries and absentees this weekend, it makes it all the better. It is great to see the team grow in confidence and have a really high level of expectation. I like Friday's backing of his core team - if you play like a rock, you're in and you will stay in. There could be a surprise in Rio!

  2. It seems that there has been a change in refereeing the tackle/breakdown area...especially in Vancouver. It's almost like the USA didn't get the memo. Anyone else detect any refereeing adjustments this past weekend?

  3. I only felt like that like the New Zealand game and Somoa game were reffed differently. NZ had their handles all over the ball, but if the ref doesn't call it, keep doing it. So it's hard to blame them. Same thing against Somao. But I was watch my 2 young boys while watching this, so couldn't have missed a few things. The one thing i noticed is that it seems to help have 7 rugby players on the field at once. Instead of 6.5, isles just isn't savy enough yet as rugby player. I love his speed and think he has gotten exponentially better. But having Pinkelman/Halliman in there playing, they can tackle/ruck/pass/poach the ball much better than Isles. They certainly don't have the strike rate that he does. But it just seemed like we played more as team that the previous few tourneys. Just my 2 cents.