Friday, March 3, 2017

Men's Vegas 7s: Eagles Cruise Past Samoa

Heading into the Vegas 7s the Eagles opening match against Samoa was arguably going to be their most crucial. The odds are high that they are going to beat Chile in their final match of day one while playing England tomorrow will be more difficult. In order to guarantee a chance at playing in the top eight the U.S. needed to beat Samoa. That they did with a 26-5 victory. They next move on to play Chile at 11:36 p.m. et/8:36 p.m. pt. A win there would put them in the top eight.

From the start the Eagles looked to have renewed focus at the breakdown. They made a number of positives plays in that area and when Steve Tomasin won a nice turnover it gave them the possession they needed to put Samoa on the back foot. That led to penalties on Samoa and after a quick tap Danny Barrett barreled over for the try. Madison Hughes would hit the easy conversion to put the Eagles up 7-0.

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The penalties continued to add up for Samoa. Off an attacking lineout from a Samoan penalty the Eagles went through several phases before Barrett scored his second of the day. With a couple of minutes left in the half the Eagles led 12-0. Samoa threatened at the end of the half but the U.S. defense held, like they would do for most of the match, and the U.S. held their advantage into halftime.

In the second half the Eagles showed brilliant hands on several occasions with several nice offloads. One of the things on the Eagles checklist heading into the tournament was starting strong at the start of the tournament. Given how strong their handling was throughout the match they sured seemed to have that focus. Folau Niua would score a third try for the Eagles as they took a 19-0 lead.

Samoa did eventually get on the board as it was the Eagles turn to rack up the penalties. However, Samoa could only grab one try. The U.S. finished off the match with a try from Barrett after the hooter.

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