Friday, December 2, 2016

Dubai 7s: Eagles Fly Past Russia

Partially making up for the disappointment of missing out on the top eight the Eagles cruised past Russia 40-0 to make the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. Straight from the start the Eagles were all over the Bears and will now play Samoa at 5:44 a.m. et/2:44 a.m. pt.

It took less than 30 seconds for Perry Baker to make his mark on the match and put the Eagles in front. The U.S. did very well on restarts all match and starved Russia of possession. It was a won restart and then a quick ball that freed Baker to run past the defense for the score. The conversion under the posts was good and the Eagles led 7-0.

Just a minute or so later it was Andrew Durutalo's turn to score. It all began with a penalty win at the breakdown from Madison Hughes and then a run from Baker before and offload to Durutalo. The U.S. were cruising just a few minutes in and were playing their best rugby of the tournament.

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The tries continued to pour in. Once again after a won restart Martin Iosefo was the man to score. Hughes used his soccer skills to keep the ball alive on the restart and then it was quickly cycled to Iosefo who powered over for the score. Baker then scored again to give the Eagles a 26-0 lead at the break.

Russia did have an opportunity near the end of the half but the U.S. defense came up big. That carried over into the second half as they U.S. picked up more scores. The first came as Folau Niua put in a clever kick over the top of the defense. At first it looked like the kick was too far ahead and would go past the dead ball line but it sat up allowing Hughes to recover. Don Pati (from the new state of "Ootah" according to the World Rugby announcers) scored the Eagles final try of the match when he threw a great dummy to freeze the defense.

The Russians did grab a try with no time left on the clock but that was only the third time they made it into the Eagles half the entire match.

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