Saturday, May 20, 2017

London 7s: Eagles Disappointing In Wales Loss

It was supposed to be their easiest match of the pool but the Eagles made it unnecessarily difficult on themselves as they fell to Wales 28-12 in their opening match at the London 7s. The two previous times they played Wales, last week in Paris and in Singapore, the U.S. was able to capitalize on a porous Welsh defense to run away with big wins but this time the flip was script as the U.S. was the one unable to stop simple movements from their opponents. Even worse for the Eagles they have made it immensely more difficult on themselves to qualify for the top eight. They are going to need help elsewhere or wins over Kenya and South Africa, a team they haven't beaten all season.

The troubles started early as Wales was able to capitalize on some sloppy passing from the Eagles to score an early try and lead 7-0. The U.S. did show life right after as Ben Pinkelman made his mark with a big fend to tie the score at 7-7. Soon after the Eagles were right at it with Andrew Durutalo taking his turn to run over the defense to extend the lead to 12-7.

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At that point the match should have trending toward the Eagles. The Welsh defense wasn't looking good and the U.S. had the ball. However, they weren't able to keep up the energy and focus, especially on defense. A defensive lapse from Andrew Durutalo allowed Wales to respond with a try and a 14-12 halftime lead.

It looked as if the Eagles would start the second on a positive note when Martin Iosefo found himself in the try area after some nice passing. However, he didn't see the defender behind him and as he started to put the ball down he was tackled and knocked it on.

That missed opportunity seemed to take the wind out of the Eagles sails. Wales were able to score fairly easily afterward as they got the U.S. overloaded on one side free up space for a winger to round the outside. The U.S. then hurt themselves with unforced errors. Wales scored a last try at the death to seal the match.

Up next is Kenya at 9:04 a.m. et/6:04 a.m. pt. 

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