Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Olympic 7s: Eagles Advance With Win Over Brazil

By Patrick Johnston

It’s small consolation but the U.S. Rugby sevens team finished day two in Rio on a winning note: led by a hat trick for Carlin Isles, they defeated the host Brazil team 24-12 in placement round playoffs.

After losing earlier in the day to Fiji and seeing their medal round hopes smashed by losing out on a tiebreaker to New Zealand, it must have been hard to get up for a game like this. But the Americans did and used both power and pace to overcome a plucky but undersized Brazil.

Take the jump to read more.

In cool and damp conditions, the opening minutes of the game were cagey. No one could make a break through until Daniel Sancery managed to scramble through the outside USA defence to open the scoring. He was bascially tackled by the US into their own end zone but the hosts didn’t care. They missed the conversion to lead 5-0.

Brazil then saw their re-start go long so the U.S. attacked from center field. Nate Ebner took a great pass from Madison Hughes to power through a gap before making a nice off load to Carlin Isles just 10 meters from the line. (Isles had just replaced Perry Baker.) Hughes missed the kick but the U.S. were clearly feeling confident.

The U.S. got the ball back right off the re-start, as Danny Barrett out-jumped the Brazilians. The ball was moved wide out to the left, then back inside to the on-rushing Barrett. The big forwarded powered through the Brazilian defence and dove under the posts to put the Americans in front.

Carlin Isles scored his second try of the game just at half time as some scrambling play was finished off by Ben Pinkelman finding a loose ball, making a break, drawing a defender and releasing the streaking Isles, who used a little stutter-step on the sideline to elude the final defender. Hughes missed the kick but his team was looking good, leading 17-5 at halftime.

Like the first half, the second started slowly. Some rough stuff after the whistle saw Barrett penalized but he quickly apologized to Brazil’s Lucas Rodrigues Duque and the two shook hands.

More back and forth play ensued, before the ball landed in Carlin Isles’ hands again. The speedster starting in his own 22. He then wrong-footed a defender and straight armed a second before running clear of everyone and scoring under the posts. The U.S. looked set to win, they just needed patience to close the game out.

Brazil’s Laurent Couhet eventually found himself in a bit of space and after a show-and-go move, sprinted clear of everyone to close the scoring out.

The US will play Spain/Kenya on Thursday at 9 a.m. PT


  1. A victory is a victory, but play is down a level. Can't blame them for playing angry after losing a SF spot, but something about seeing USA player after USA player run right into three Brazilians without any apparent plan says something about the low quality of coolheaded, team-oriented decisionmaking of the team.

  2. ^well they don't have to make good rugby decisions anymore, now that they have an NFL star in their midst. Right?!

  3. Actually, Ebner has shown to be a better and more composed player than several of the regulars.

  4. On the world's biggest sports stage the USA Eagles Men managed wins over Spain, the last team to qualify, and Brazil, who did not qualify given they are the host. The USA 7s program, Men's and Women's went backward in the lead up to the Olympics while other nations accelerated.