Sunday, December 11, 2016
Cape Town 7s: Eagles Fall To Scotland In Extra Time
For more than 14 minutes the Eagles fought hard only to run out of gas as they fell to Scotland 24-19 in extra time in their medal quarterfinal match at the Cape Town 7s. The Eagles had their chances in the match but small errors at crucial times allowed Scotland to grab important tries, including the deciding try in extra time. The Eagles will now have to regroup as they face the loser of the Fiji-England match at 9:12 a.m. et/6:12 a.m. pt.
It couldn't have been a more brilliant start for the Eagles. Deep in their own end Perry Baker made a try out of nothing as he shaked and baked his way past the defense for the score. Just like that the Eagles led 7-0. After the try each team had a steal at the breakdown but it would be Scotland that would find the score as they put in a brilliant chip over the top. 7-7.
Scotland soon scored a second try that would have disappointed acting head coach Chris Brown. After claiming the restart Matai Leuta found himself isolated. Scotland earned the turnover and quickly scored a second try. Both conversions were good and Scotland led 14-7.
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One bright spot not only in the match but all tournament was the play of Baker. Once again he was at the center of the action. Great interplay between him and Niua led to Baker stretching over for the try. The conversion was off and at halftime the Eagles trailed 14-12.
The U.S. claimed the restart but the Scotland defense was resolute and the U.S. couldn't break through. However, they did well to pin Scotland in deep and as a result when Martin Iosefo brilliantly read the Scottish pass he only had an easy stroll for the score. That put the Eagles up 19-14 with a few minutes left.
Helter-skelter play from both teams provided several opportunities but neither team was able to break through until Scotland stole the ball from a U.S. scrum and went wide for the score. Crucially the conversion was off and the match headed to extra time.
Both teams scored exhaustion in the second period with a couple of errors. In the end it was a few penalties on the Eagles that allowed Scotland to push close to, and eventually over the line for the winning score.
It wasn't a terrible effort from the Eagles and they did a lot of good things. At the same time, some of the players showed that they are still relatively new in terms of a lot of playing time and made a few decisions that cost the Eagles the match.