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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Paris 7s: Eagles Blast Canada To Finish Pool Play

By Patrick Johnston

After two disappointing performances at the Paris 7s vs. France and Argentina, a struggling Canada, playing without Nathan Hirayama and mostly resting captain John Moonlight, proved to be just the thing for the USA Eagles.

Mike Friday's squad beat their North American rivals 33-12 in the final pool round game for each nation.

Errors on defence and struggles with ball in hand had plagued the Eagles in their first two games but against Canada, they found space with the ball and pushed the tempo. They dominated possession in racing out to a 21-0 first half lead. They also forced the Canadian defence into mistakes: Canada missed 5 of their 14 first half tackle attempts.

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Zack Test scored in the second minute, then Maka Unufe scored a pair, stepping inside the Canadian defence on both occasions as he found his way to the line. Madison Hughes nailed all three conversions.

Canada finally got some passes together late in the half, speedy Justin Douglas finding himself in some space and sprinting to the corner.

The second half was pretty similar, with the Americans pushing the tempo and the Canadians creaking under the pressure. Hughes got a try of his own, his 50th on the series, a couple minutes into the half, as the Eagles wore down the Canadian defence and Hughes powered through a Sean White tackle from about 8 meters out. Hughes kicked his fourth conversion of the game.

Folau Niua got the USA's fifth try of the game with a couple minutes to play, before Canada got a second try, this time from Mike Fuailefau, who stepped through the tiring American defence in the game's final minute.

The win was the good part; the bad part is this is the second tournament in a row the USA will play in the bowl round. The USA plays Portugal on Sunday at 1:29 a.m. PT/4:29 a.m. ET

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