Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sydney 7s: Physical Eagles Fall To South Africa

Facing injuries to several players and the hot conditions the Eagles weren't able to grab enough energy as they lost to South Africa 21-10 in the Cup quarterfinals. South Africa have been the competition's leading team this year for a reason and when the U.S. made a couple of errors they were there to make them pay. The U.S. will now play the loser of Wales or Australia at 11:31 p.m. et/8:31 p.m. pt.

The U.S. started the match by camping out deep in the South African end. Still, it was difficult for them to break through the Blitzbokke defense. That was until a great play from Madison Hughes broke the match open. While competing at the breakdown Hughes was able to kick the ball loose allowing Carlin Isles to snatch it up and go for the score. The conversion missed but the Eagles were up 5-0.

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Unfortunately it didn't last as South Africa were able to maintain a lot of possession on the restart. With the possession they went through a few quick phases before Justin Geduld beat Martin Iosefo around the outside for the score. Their conversion was good giving them a 7-5 lead.

The Eagles pushed hard at the end of the half and they nearly had an opportunity to score. However, a long, looping pass from Carlin Isles was easily read by the South African defense leading to Chris Dry scoring under the posts. Rather than being down two at the half South Africa then led 14-5.

The second half was a physical affair with both teams working really hard at the breakdown. That hard work paid off for the Eagles as Steve Tomasin scored in the corner. Again the conversion was off but the Eagles had four minutes to make something happen.

South Africa then permanently extended the lead when Seabelo Senatla threw a great dummy to beat the defense for the try. The Eagles tried to make things happen but South Africa shut it down to seal the match.

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