It was as much of a statement win as you could make. Keeping all the possession and limiting what their opponents could do the Eagles have advanced to the semi-finals at the Singapore 7s with a 24-19 win over Fiji. Head coach Friday's game plan was perfect. They did well to keep the ball from Fiji and they stayed patient, especially at the breakdown as they ensured Fiji couldn't turn mistakes into quick tries.
The U.S. was also dominant at the restart leading to loads of possession. Fiji didn't help their cause by knocking on the opening kick. From there the Eagles simply stayed patient running through phases after phase and sending it back and forth across the pitch looking for an opening. That finally came as Ben Pinkelman found space in the corner for the opening try. The Conversion from Hughes was missed but the Eagles led 5-0.
Still, Fiji showed exactly what they can do just a few moments later. The Eagles had kept the restart but a big tackle from Fiji on Pinkelman saw the ball come loose. From there it took one pass, Fiji's only pass for most of the game, to see them go the length of the pitch for the try. Like that Fiji were up 7-5.
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But it all came back to the restart. Another win gave the Eagles possession and once again they slowly worked their way down the pitch where Steve Tomasin showed some deceptive speed for the try. At the break the Eagles led 12-5.
In the second half the Eagles picked up right where they left off. Another won restart let the Eagles take time off the clock and move down the pitch. Soon Tomasin was over for his second. With four and a half minutes left the Eagles were up 17-7. Additionally they had completed 55 passes to only one for Fiji. On the flip side, Fiji had made 21 tackles to zero for the Eagles.
The Eagles would make the distance too far for Fiji to come back when Pinkelman powered over for his second try. That made it 24-7. Fiji did score a couple of tries to finish the match showing just how quickly they can attack but by that point the Eagles had showed enough game management for the win.
There cannot be enough good things said about this match. The Eagles played one of their best matches in awhile and were justly rewarded with the win. They will next play Australia or South Africa at 5:10 a.m. et/2:10 a.m pt.