Saturday, April 9, 2016

Atlanta 7s: Eagles Finish With The Plate

When the Eagles look back at this year's Atlanta 7s they will probably say it gave them the momentum they needed to carry them through to Rio. After all the turmoil that has surrounded the team over the last month the Eagles persevered and showed great rugby on their way to a victory in the Plate. The Eagles only lost one match all tournament and that was to Australia who have been outstanding all year. They beat teams like Spain, Japan, and Fiji by big margins while also beating New Zealand to top their pool. Given the seeding they were a little unfortunate to have played Australia in the semi-finals but it gave them a good idea of what they need to do to get into medal contention. 

Now the team will turn their attention to Langford, British Columbia next week where they will once again hope to top their pool and make the top four. 

Eagles 5-22 Australia

Australia showed once again why they are the favorites to win gold at this point with a dominating win over the Eagles. It wasn't as if the Eagles played poorly, they actually had good stretches, but it's that Australia are that good. That was evidenced early as they went up 12-0 within the first few minutes.

Take the jump to read more.The Eagles did catch a break near the end of the first half as they put Australia under pressure for a long series. However, despite a yellow card being issued to Australia the Eagles were unable to convert. That would prove even more painful in the second half as Australia scored quickly on a fluke line out play to lead 17-0. they would then add a fourth try with two minutes to go. The Eagles did get a late try from Jessica Javelet to help regain some momentum from the loss. 

Eagles 38-0 Fiji

Frustrated from the result against Australia the Eagles came out and jumped all over a very poor Fiji in the Plate semi-finals. The rout was on early as the U.S. won the restart and two passes later Megan Bonny was in the corner for the score. That was soon followed up by a try from Kate Zackary. Richelle Stephens and Alev Kelter had tries to make the halftime score 24-0. In the second half the onslaught continued with Kelter and Javelet scoring tries. 

Eagles 19-7 Russia

The Eagles finished up their day with a win over Russia in the Plate. It was a tough match against a solid Russian side that was good at the breakdown. However, the Eagles were able to have the majority of the possession in the match and they turned that into points. 

Thomas nearly put the U.S. on the board early but she was pulled into touch. Still, it was just a matter of time and soon Kelter was in for the Eagles positive start. Russia struck right back to make it 7-5. Not wanting to go into the half down on the scoreboard Richelle Stephens slipped through the defense to make it 12-7 at the break. 

Javelet had a shout for a try in the second half as she kicked the ball down the pitch but was tripped on her way. The referee correctly ruled it to be accidental and the U.S. had a to wait a few minutes for their next try. But it did come. More possession from the Eagles saw the clock wind down and when a terrific offload from Bui Baravilala found Bonny she would score for the final time. 

Overall, the U.S. received solid performances from a number of players. Alev Kelter and Bui Baravilala especially stood out as making major impacts on the team. They will continue to need strong performances from the whole team as they head to Canada. 

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