Saturday, May 21, 2016

London 7s: U.S. Start Well, Beat Samoa

Coming out as defending champions the U.S. faced a tough task against Samoa, the winners from last week in Paris. They did just that in a 12-5 win that should give them momentum and confidence the rest of the tournament.

The U.S. got off to an aggressive start when Perry Baker was able to stretch near the line. Unfortunately he lost the ball forward when trying to stretch it on to the line. Still, it was the kind of start the U.S. desperately needed after two subpar tournaments.

The first try finally came when Barrett won the ball at the breakdown. The U.S. went out quick to Baker on the wing for the score. With just two and a half minutes gone the U.S. held a 5-0 lead.

Take the jump to read more.
Defense was a strong point for the Eagles early by forcing Samoa into mistakes. That gave the U.S. opportunities. Execution let them down at points or they would have had more points. Still, Danny Barrett, Madison Hughes, and Zack Test were all aggressive early showing renewed energy.

Samoa did find a try just before halftime but they had to work for it and drained a lot of energy. Still, it showed just how dangerous they could be. At halftime the match was tied at 5-5. Samoa had an chance early in the second half but Baker did very well to track back and stop the opportunity.

At that point the match could have gone the way of Samoa but the U.S. dug deep. Taking the ball deep in his own end Hughes did extremely well to shake off a couple of tackles, make a break to halfway, before passing to Baker. The speedster then too it further before offloading back to Hughes for the champagne try. To cap it off Hughes was on with the conversion and the Eagles led 12-5.

Each team had opportunities the rest of the match, including one from Samoa in which they were away but the ball was knocked on by taking their eye off the ball, but neither were able to convert. In the end the U.S. were able to take time off the clock and claim the important win.

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

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