Friday, April 15, 2016

Singapore 7s: Eagles Near Perfect In Win Over Canada

The Eagles couldn't have asked for a much better start to the Singapore 7s that a 36-14 blowout win over rivals Canada. Straight from the start the U.S. used a clinical line out to starve Canada of possession and to score three tries with less than four minutes played. Further, with France beating New Zealand in the previous match the U.S. will have the opportunity to put themselves in a great position to win the pool should they beat France in their next match at 2:27 a.m. et/11:27 p.m. pt.

As mentioned, the U.S. used the restart to perfection early. Canada actually claimed the initial restart but after a few phases coughed up the ball. It was quickly passed to Madison Hughes who recognized the space behind the Canadian defense and kicked ahead. He wasn't able to claim his initial ball but was able to kick it forward where it died in the try zone allowing him to touch it down.

Take the jump to read more.
Only seconds later the U.S. had another. Perry Baker did well to contest the restart and a lucky bounce put the ball in his hands where he went in untouched for the score. Just like that it was 12-0 to the Eagles. Baker was able to claim the subsequent restart, thanks in large part absolutely brilliant kicking from Folau Niua. It was quickly cycled and when it was once again kicked into vacant space Zack Test was able to claim it for the try. To put the Eagles dominance into perspective, the U.S. had made just one pass to this point while Canada had made six, despite not having the ball.

Test would add a fourth try for the Eagles in the half when Niua once again kicked through and Test recovered. At 24-0 the Eagles were cruising at the half.

During the break Mike Friday told his team to keep the pressure on and to keep a zero for Canada. That looked likely to happen early as another claimed restart from Baker found Barrett for a try only 20 seconds in the half.

After the try the Eagles slightly took their foot off the gas. Canada were able to find possession and they eventually broke through. However, the presence of Baker forced Connor Trainor to pull up rather than backing himself and soon Canada turned it over. Still, they kept at it and Nathan Hirayama was able to break through for the try.

Still, the Eagles led 31-7 and Friday was able to bring in Nate Ebner out for his first taste. He didn't look out of sorts and was active on defense despite another try from Canada. The U.S. would extend their lead as simple passing and better footwork found Hughes for the try. The match ended as Nate Augspurger made a great cover tackle.

Overall, the Eagles can't be anything but please by that performance. They will rue the two tries given up but they were absolutely dominant on restarts and defensively had a solid effort. They are going to need more of that as they face France and New Zealand.

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