Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sydney 7s: Women Eagles On To The Quarterfinals

The Eagles are through to the Cup quarterfinals in Sydney after putting in an overall solid day. They started out with a loss to Russia but then rebounded with great wins over England and Spain.

Eagles 20-5 Spain

The Eagles wasted no time in getting on the board against Spain. After winning a turnover at the breakdown all it took was simple passing out to Kristen Thomas who paced around the outside for the score. Unfortunately for the Eagles Thomas would go down with an injury a few minutes later. That and a combination of penalties--including not retreating 10 that sent Cheta Emba to the bin--saw Spain score their first try in the corner and a 5-5 tie. Each team had their opportunities on turnovers but neither could create another score before the break.

A powerful run from Hope Rogers opened things up in the second half as she drew in several defenders before offloading. From there Nana Fa'avesi had open space to score. Later it was more power from Rogers and Naya Tapper that set up space for Alev Kelter to power her way over. With the 15-5 lead with only minutes left the Eagles were on their way to the win and the quarterfinals. Tapper nearly had another highlight reel try but someone dropped the ball while trying to put it down. She made amends a few minutes later with a score to finish out the match and clinch a quarterfinal spot for the team.

Take the jump to read more.

Eagles 22-14 England

England was not the team the Eagles were expected to beat in Sydney but they played a fantastic match to come away with an important 22-14 win. Following their loss to Russia the win saved their chances at the quarterfinals and set up their big result against Spain. England started out with a try to take a 7-0 lead before the Eagles answered through Thomas. One again it was power from players like Tapper and Kelly Griffin that opened up space on the wing for Thomas to blow past the defense for the try. However, the Eagles were off on their conversion putting them down 7-5.

England then added another try to go ahead 14-5. That said, the Eagles did strike once more before the half as quick play from Nicole Heavirland to grab the ball out of the breakdown and race in for the try. At halftime the Eagles trailed 14-10.

In the second half neither team was able to find the breakthrough until midway through the half. The deadlock was broken as Kelter was there to pounce on a mistake from England to stroll in for the try. Kelter then put the final touch on the match as she was there to drag two defenders over the try line for the score.

Eagles 10-19 Russia

The U.S. started their tournament in bright fashion as Tapper scored roughly 30 into the match against Russia. It all started with the Eagles creating pressure and a turnover on defense. From there they quickly counterattacked and cycled it out to Tapper for the score. It would take Russia a few more minutes but they would eventually tie the game back up at 5-5. That's how things would stand going into halftime.

The second half started much like the first except this time it took two minutes for Naya Tapper to score. Russia once again made a mistake trying to pass the ball and Tapper was there to clean it up and run in for the score. Unfortunately that would be the high point for the Eagles. Russia replied with a try soon after that they were able to convert to take a 12-10 lead. The Eagles had some chances after that but another try from Russia without much time left sealed the match.

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