Friday, January 27, 2017
Wellington 7s: Eagles Rally To Draw With France
The Eagles would have liked a win in their Wellington 7s opener but they'll instead have to find the positions from a 21-21 draw with France. The Eagles looked dangerous early on in the match and Perry Baker seemed to show a lot of life but a disappointing stretch to close the first half shut off a chance for the win.
As mentioned Baker was bright early on. He looked to be away with less than a minute played but a great tackle from Julien Candelon forced Baker into the knock-on. Still, the Eagles would control the possession and territory early leading to a Martin Iosefo try. Hughes would hit the conversion and the Eagles would lead 7-0.
A win at the restart by Baker seemed to have the Eagles in a good spot but France did well to win the ball back and wear the Eagles down leading to their first try and a 7-7 tie.
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Unfortunately for the Eagles the next minute and a half is when they would lose the possibility of a win. Disappointing handling for Danny Barrett on the restart allowed France to collect the ball and run in for their second try. Barrett then dropped another pass after the hooter which the French team soccer kicked in for their third try. In just a minute an a half the Eagles went from being up to trailing 21-7 at halftime.
The second half was a much better affair for the Eagles although not on the restarts as they often didn't let the ball go 10 meters. Barrett did his best to atone for his first half mistakes with a couple of big wins at the restart. One of those led to the first try of the half with Baker turning something out of nothing for the score. Just a little later Hughes had an opportunity but he was judged to have placed the ball just short of the line.
Still, the Eagles kept coming. Good running from Folau Niua and Iosefo helped push the ball down the pitch. From there they would find Baker on the wing who went into the try zone but then threw a risky pass back to Durutalo for the score closer to the posts. The conversion was good and the Eagles were back in it at 21-21.
Each team had an opportunity to finish the match but neither team could find the go ahead score. The Eagles will next play Samoa at 10:42 p.m. et/7:42 p.m. pt. That's pretty much a must-in as the Eagles face New Zealand after that.