Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dubai 7s: Eagles Edge Past Kenya

The Eagles are into the Challenge Cup final where they will face Samoa after a narrow 21-19 victory over Kenya in the semi-finals. Once again the Eagles showed a lot of the skill that gave them success on the Series last year. They were more effectively able to use players like Perry Baker and Danny Barrett while newcomers to regular playing time like Steve Tomasin helped the Eagles push forward.

Just like in their match against Russia the U.S. started out well. Perry Baker was able to create some space, something that didn't happen on day one, and it led to Danny Barrett fending off the defender for the try. The conversion was good and the Eagles would lead 7-0.

Also similar to their match against Russia the U.S. defense played a big role in their success. This time it was pushing Kenya back when they had the ball and then coming up with the loose ball. Once again it was Baker that would make things happen as he put in a basketball pass to Hughes for the teams second try. Several minutes in the team was now up 14-0.

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However, they weren't going to keep Kenya off the board forever. Using a U.S. penalty Kenya made some nice passing to see Willie Ambaka cut the deficit in half. They then recovered the ball on the restart and quickly went in for a second. However, the second conversion missed and the U.S. went into the break up 14-12.

In the second half the U.S. once again was able to retain possession on the restart and from their it was simply passing until Hughes slipped past the defense for the try. For the third straight time his conversion connected and the Eagles led 21-12.

Three minutes later Kenya would grab another try but even with the missed conversion they were down two, 21-19, after their earlier miss. That would end up being the difference as the clock wound down and the Eagles held on to win. 

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