|Photo: David Barpal|
For the second tournament in a row the Eagles are headed to the Cup semi-finals. They had their toughest opponent yet in Argentina but in the end they did enough in the second half to prevent Argentina from scoring to came away with the result. They will now face South Africa in the semi-finals. This is identical to a week ago in Vegas where they beat Argentina by two points in the quarterfinal and then played South Africa in the semi-finals.
Restarts were a key to the U.S. success on day one but Argentina were able to neutralize that as they won every single one of their restarts, as did the Eagles. Early on that meant Argentina had the bulk of the possession. The U.S. looked up to the task defensively early but a yellow card to Danny Barrett for either a high tackle or accidental boot to the head of a Argentine player put the Eagles in a hole. With the advantage they scored a try in the corner to take a 7-0 lead.
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With Barrett back on and with possession the U.S. went on the attack. The Argentine defense wasn't letting much happen early on and it took a win from an Argentine scrum to come up with the try. The U.S. were able to steal the ball and quickly cycle it out to Perry Baker who eluded the defense for the try. With the easy conversion from Hughes the Eagles were back in it at 7-7.
Still, Argentina were solid throughout the match, especially in putting the Eagles under consistent pressure in their own end. Soon that paid off in the form of a second try as the Argentine player dragged Baker over the tryline. The conversion missed and the match was 12-7 at the break.
In the second half the Eagles came out more focused. They nearly connected on a grubber through to Baker but couldn't make it work. They made it work a moment later. Baker was able to initially catch the ball and it was put through a few phases leading to Danny Barrett crashing over. Hughes would hit the conversion and the Eagles would have a 14-12 lead.
The last few minutes of the match were an absolute fight. Each team fought hard at the breakdown but several Argentine penalties, including one with seconds to go, allowed the Eagles to seal the match.
They will now play South Africa at 6:08 p.m. et/3:08 p.m. pt.
After the match Mike Friday spoke with Patrick Johnston of The Province.