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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Vegas 7s: U.S. Beat Kenya, Move To Cup Semi-finals


After the match head coach Mike Friday said that everyone on the team took their Cup quarterfinal match personal. It wasn't about Kenya but it was about getting the most out of their performance. Thanks to their 26-14 win the team felt they accomplished that goal and will move on to play Fiji in the Cup semi-finals at 3:50 p.m. et/12:50 p.m. pt.

Showing their intentions early the Eagles came out focused and intense. In particular their workrate at the breakdown was strong and it caused them to win possession and keep the ball in their attacking end. The first breakthrough finally came about a minute into the match. Going of a set piece following a Kenyan penalty the Eagles went through multiple phases before finding the streaking Danny Barrett for the try. Hughes hit the conversion and the U.S. led 7-0.

That lead increased to 14-0 just a few minutes later. A win at the breakdown once again saw the Eagles pin their ears back. A fantastic pass from Niua found Test who found Barrett for the hard yards. The ball was then recycled across the pitch to Perry Baker for the score.

Take the jump to read more.
Kenya had multiple opportunities but on several occasions they were their own worst enemy. More than once they nearly had a player away for a try but the final pass was knocked-on. Eventually they would finally get over. Collins Injera showed why he's a legend to slip through a couple of U.S. tackles. They would then earn a turnover at the breakdown that they would turn into another try and the match went into halftime tied at 14-14.

The U.S. had most of the possession to start the second half but the Kenyan defense was able to mostly keep it's shape. It took the U.S. going through multiple phases before they got the defense out of sorts. Playing scrumhalf Folau Niua put in a quick pass the the onrushing Martin Iosefo who temporarily froze the defense and went in the rest of the way for the try. The U.S. would then use more possession and effort at the breakdown to score their fourth and final try. Once again from the breakdown Test used his teammate on the outside to halt the lone Kenyan defender and go in for the try. The conversion missed but it was enough to give the U.S. a 26-14 win.

Making the Cup semi-finals is a huge deal for the team, especially at home. They've made the Cup quarterfinals every tournament this week but with the exception of Dubai haven't been able to get back into the top four. They've not accomplished that and will have a boisterous crowd cheering them on on Sunday.

One worry for the team is health. Maka Unufe is out with a separated shoulder and Will Holder is being monitored for a concussion. Danny Barrett went down late against Kenya but will be available tomorrow.

Starters: Barrett, Bender, Test, Niua, Hughes, Baker, Iosefo

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