Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vancouver 7s: Eagles Beat France, Make Quarterfinals

Photo: David Barpal
For the third straight tournament the Eagles will be in the top eight. They secured their spot with a 31-19 win over France in their second match of pool play. They will take on Australia, who also won both of their first two matches, later in the day to see who fill finish as the number one team in the pool.

The Eagles picked up right where they left off against Japan with an early try. France tried to counteract the U.S. on the kickoff by awkwardly kicking deep. It put the Eagles in a corner but crisp passing led to a Danny Barrett breakthrough. He then offloaded to Hughes who outpaced the French defender for the opening score. Only a few moments later more possession from the Eagles allowed Martin Iosefo to claim his first of the day. Without much time gone the Eagles held a 12-0.

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Despite the U.S. dominating the possession early France did have a great opportunity to score in the corner but Barrett did enough to recover to push the French player into touch. Unfortunately it didn't all work out for the Eagles. Trapped deep in their own end a miscommunication from Folau Niua to Hughes saw the ball fall loose and France fall on it for the score. There was still time to play after the try and the Eagles did well to fight on after the hooter where they put Iosefo in for his second. At halftime the Eagles led 19-7.

France scored a beauty of a try in the second half to make it 19-12 but the U.S. responded right away as Niua evaded five or six defenders before offloading to Durutalo for the try. After France tried the awkward kick once again on the restart the U.S. similarly made them pay as Maka Unufe made a big break before passing to Perry Baker for the score. France scored a late cosmetic try but the Eagles were well on their way to the victory.

Through two matches the Eagles look very strong. They've scored 83 points while only giving up 19. They have also make a lot of their tackles and against France were 5/5 on tries during visits to the French 22. Australia will be a tough challenge but a win there should give the Eagles a lot of confidence going forward.

The U.S. will play Australia at 8:08 p.m. et/5:08 p.m. pt. 

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