Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hong Kong 7s: Eagles Fall To England In Plate Final

The Eagles have finished as Plate runners-up at the Hong Kong 7s with a 19-0 loss to England. Overall, the Eagles had a mixed tournament by their standards. They topped their pool on day one with a solid victory over Australia but then on day two weren't able to get past either South Africa or England. They will especially be disappointed in their result against England where they felt they could have done better.

The match didn't start out well for the Eagles as they gave up a try just thirty seconds into the match. All England had to do was collect the kick, make one pass, and then watch Dan Norton run the rest of the way untouched for the score. Just like that, 7-0 to England.

After the try they Eagles maintained a set of good possession but they couldn't break through a tough England defense. Instead, they were forced to kick ahead trying to find Baker in space. When they were able to get the ball back there were few small errors that cost them any opportunity. Eventually those mistakes would haunt the U.S. as England stayed patient in their build up and scored a second try just seconds before halftime. 14-0 at the break.

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Despite letting another restart slip out of their hands to start the second half the U.S. were able to win the ball back and have possession. However, credit should go to the England defense who stifled the Eagles on multiple occasions. When England did have the ball they were in no hurry to get play going as they took time off the clock. With two minutes left England stole a line out and ran in for their third try. 19-0.

Like in Vancouver a few weeks back the Eagles looked exhausted having played all weekend. That's an area in which they will want to improve upon as they finish out the season and head into Rio. Sensing some of that fatigue head coach Mike Friday chose to rest regular starters like Danny Barrett, Martin Iosefo, and Madison Hughes.

Still, even with the fatigue the U.S. did show that they are a top team on the Series. There is a gap between them and the top three sides at the moment but they are deservedly in fifth place. They will hold an 11 point lead over sixth place Argentina and and 18 point lead over England. However, they are now 17 points in back of Australia who finished in fourth.

The team will get back at it next week in Singapore.

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