Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dubai 7s: Eagles Beat Samoa, Win Challenge Trophy

After a frustrating day one the Eagles were back to their attacking selves on day two of the Dubai 7s as the beat Samoa 28-14 to finish the tournament as the Challenge Trophy winners. The team was very disappointed to miss out on the top eight but they were sunk by a lackluster match against Scotland on day one. However, starting in the second half against Uganda and carrying over into day two the team seemed much more confident in their game and were able to consistently find the likes of Perry Baker. Overall, it wasn't necessarily the tournament they wanted but they will be happy with the way they responded on day two.

Similar to what they did all day the Eagles were able to get on the board early. It took a couple of minutes but taking advantage of a Samoan penalty Martin Iosefo took a quick tap and then found Andrew Durutalo for the opening score. The conversion would be good giving the Eagles a 7-0.

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Still, Samoa would have their chances. After the U.S. bobbled the restart Samoa was able to collect and tie the game at 7-7. The U.S. were able to repay the favor on the subsequent restart. Samoa were able to gather but good work from Folau Niua caused the turnover. Baker then put in chip over the top that he collected for the try. That was the second time he'd collected his own chip for a try at the tournament showing a new element of his game. The conversion was good and the Eagles led 14-7.

That lead would extend to 21-7 at the break as Iosefo would prove vital to the team once again. He made a solid run that drew in the defense leaving Matai Leuta to do the rest of the work for the score. In the second half a try from Steve Tomasin would extend the lead to 28-7 with just a few minutes left. Samoa were able to score a try at the end but it was too late and the Eagles came away with the victory.

The team will hopefully take the lessons of day two and head into Cape Town next week with confidence. 

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