Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Olympic 7s: Eagles Fall To Argentina

The U.S. succumbed to a late try to lost 17-14 in their Rio 2016 pool play opener against Argentina. In a wild match that saw three yellow cards to Argentina and two very controversial tries it was Argentina that was able to play the most complete match, especially defensively, as they went on to win. The U.S. effort was strong but on a couple of key moments a small error cost them what could have been a great opportunity for victory. Coupled with France's earlier win over Argentina and Japan's shock defeat of New Zealand the pressure is now on the U.S. to put up a big score against Brazil to get their point differential to where it needs to be.

Despite a fantastic win at the restart from Danny Barrett the match started in ominous fashion with a knock-on from Perry Baker. That gifted possession to Argentina and soon they were able to work their way through several phases. That was also aided by a number of penalties on the Eagles. Penalties would be a major problem throughout the match as they continually gave possession and opportunities to Argentina.

Eventually that possession would pay off as Axel Muller would score for Argentina. It began with Barrett threw and errant pass that was scooped up by Argentina. Perry Baker did well to track back and make a tackle but it was high allowing Argentina to take a quick tap, leading to Muller's try.

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Things turned in the favor of the Eagles with a couple of minutes left in the half when Argentina were called for a dangerous tackle on Baker. However, the U.S. were called for sealing off the ball at the ruck. Later, after they earned a turnover at the breakdown, something they did well all match, they knocked it on. At the half Argentina would lead 7-0.

Argentina were the first to score in the second half as well. Keeping possession they worked their way close to the line and once again off a quick tap they had a shout for a try. Referee Craig Joubert consulted the TMO for a knock-on but didn't call it an obvious knock on and gave the try. It was controversial to say the least as it looked like a clear knock on. The conversion missed but Argentina led 12-0.

Another tip tackle from Argentina led to a second yellow card and soon it was three as Joubert ruled that a high tackle on Zack Test as Test went to ground the ball for a try prevented the score. Suddenly the U.S. were back in at 12-7 thanks to the penalty and with a two man advantage. They would soon make that advantage count as Danny Barrett was the beneficiary of hard running from Nate Ebner and Garrett Bender to go in for the score. With a minute to go the U.S. were up 14-12 but Argentina were back at full strength.

When Folau Niua's restart didn't go ten it gave Argentina the perfect opportunity they needed. Aided by a couple of U.S. penalties Argentina scored in the corner for the 17-14 win.

The U.S. will now turn their attention to hopefully putting up a big score against Brazil and then causing an upset over Fiji. They play Brazil at 5:00 p.m. et/2:00 p.m. pt.


  1. Why wouldn't Niua kick the ball high and deep on the restart? Wouldn't you want to pin back the opposition as far as possible so they have to go the length of the field? Why try and kick it just past the 10? Very frustration to watch knowing the talent that is on the team.

  2. Winning kickoffs isn't that hard if it's a core value of the side. Fiji does it a lot. Perry Baker did it. IF the kick went 10, it wasn't even in the air, it was a grubber. Maybe Hughes should take pressure kicks as he takes the conversions.

  3. Not a good idea to take a dog fight to the Pumas. Fiji also tried it but wised up and reverted to their offload passing game to beat the Pumas.