Sunday, April 17, 2016

Singapore 7s: Eagles Fall To Scotland In Bowl Final

The Eagles have finished their Singapore 7s campaign with a disappointing 14-10 loss to Scotland. It was the small things that let the Eagles down as they allowed Scotland to capitalize on a couple of mistakes and weren't able to take advantage of their opportunities.

The U.S. were able to keep the opening kick but good pressure defense from Scotland forced them to kick. Scotland weren't able to make much happen either as the Eagles similarly played tough defense. For most of the half the teams traded possession. The breakthrough finally came with about three minutes to play in the half when the Scottish player found the gap and went in for the try. 7-0.

Feeling frustrated, the Eagles weren't afraid to make things chippy with a few handbags on the possession after the try. Particularly frustrating for the Eagles on the day was their handling. On multiple occasions in the first half the U.S. had opportunities to put Scotland on the back foot but the concentration was lacking and the U.S. coughed up the ball.

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One knock-on in particular would haunt the Eagles. With only seconds to go in the half a knock-on gave Scotland the ball. They elected to kick ahead and when Folau Niua couldn't collect it Scotland were able to pounce to take a 14-0 lead into halftime.

The Eagles responded in the second half. Led by a strong run from Danny Barrett the Eagles slowly marched down the pitch. Switching the ball they found Zack Test near the wing where he muscled over for the try. The conversion was off but the Eagles were on the board 14-5. The team nearly put in another try just seconds later but once again they weren't able to finish.

With three minutes to go the team scored another try to give them life. Madison Hughes was able to disrupt the ball at the breakdown. Danny Barrett was able to pounce on it and earn a penalty at the same time. The U.S. then simply worked the ball out to Maka Unufe who also powered through for the score. However, once again the conversion missed and the Eagles trailed 14-10.

The Eagles pushed very hard for a try at the end. Another barreling run from Barrett put the Eagles close. Keeping possession the Eagles searched and searched for the equaling try. Unfortunately it was another handling error that cost them possession and the match.

Without question it was not the way the Eagles wanted to play out the Singapore 7s. They had their chance to make the Cup quarterfinals but let themselves down. They also had the chance to beat Scotland in the Bowl final but lost all the small battles. Still, the team sits in fifth place heading into the last two legs of the Series. That is not bad for an outfit that finished 13th two years ago. With Paris and London the final two warm-up events before the Olympics look for the U.S. to regroup and play well. 

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