Sunday, December 11, 2016

Cape Town 7s: Tired Eagles Lose To Fiji

The Eagles closed out the Cape Town 7s with a 28-12 loss to Fiji in the 5th place semi-finals (formerly the Plate semi-finals). Having come off an extra time loss against Scotland the Eagles simply ran out of gas after a long two weeks with some players coming off a full November of tests. It wasn't the result the Eagles would have wanted but they did make it to the quarterfinals and picked up enough points to put them in 8th place in the Series standings.

It was nearly a great start for the Eagles despite knocking on the opening kick. Andrew Durutalo had a nice line break but was caught and the Eagles couldn't break through. After that Fiji turned it a bit of magic. From a scrum they ran a set play and nearly ran in untouched to go up 7.0. Kevon Williams did well to try and track back but eve he couldn't stop a Fijian in full flight.

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Fiji were away again off the restart. They got a fortunate bounce of the ball and all it took after that was a classic Fijian offload for the score. With three minutes left in the half Fiji led 14-0. It took a few more minutes but they increased that lead to 21-0 at the half. They controlled the ball for a good three minutes to wear down what was an already tired U.S. defense.

The second half did start well for the Eagles as Don Pati was able to slip through the defense for the score. Steve Tomasin would miss the conversion and the Eagles would be down 21-5. After the try each team had several struggles as the heat of the day really seemed to wear both teams down. The U.S. had to do the bulk of the defending and it eventually caught up with them as Fiji scored again.

The Eagles did close out the match well with a good stretch of possession that was finished off by Kevon Williams. Several players that came off the bench, Alec Gletzer, Pati, and Matai Leuta, were all active and brought energy.

The Series will now take a break until January with the Wellington 7s.

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