Saturday, November 4, 2017

Silicon Valley 7s: Eagles Get Past New Zealand

Photo: Connie Hatfield
Job one is done for the Eagles with a spot in the quarterfinals booked at the Silicon Valley 7s.  They beat New Zealand 24-12 in their second match of the day and coupled with Chile's earlier win over Tonga the U.S. will now take on the Chileans for the top spot in the pool.

It was New Zealand that were the aggressive team early. They did a good job at keeping possession and putting the U.S. under pressure. They were especially rewarded by the hard running of Luke Masirewa who scored two tries to put New Zealand up 12-0.

Eventually the U.S. were able to work their way into the match on the backs of veteran efforts from Ben Pinkelman and Folau Niua. They were fantastic in the match and helped spark the Eagles when it looked like the match could get away from them. It was Pinkelman that would grab the first try. He made a great hard charging run that resulted in New Zealand committing a penalty. From there Pinkelman took the quick tap to score. The conversion was off but the U.S. were back in it at 12-5.

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The U.S. had one more good chance just before the end of the half but despite strong efforts from Niua and Pinkelman once again couldn't get the try.

In the second half the U.S. picked off where they left off in the second half. It began with some great set-up play from Niua. As the tournament has progressed he's only gotten better and his passing was tremendous. It was one of those passes that set up Iosefo who showed great footwork to stretch over for the try. The conversion tied it up at 12-12.

The momentum only built from there. The U.S. continued to build phases and newcomer Joe Schroeder, who is a very big body and played well this week, picked up his first try. Steve Tomasin capped it off with one final try.

Now the U.S. will take on surprising Chile for the top spot in the pool at 11:00 p.m. et/8:00 p.m. pt.

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