Saturday, November 4, 2017

Silicon Valley 7s: Second Half Propels Eagles Over Tonga

Photo: Connie Hatfield

The Eagles got out to a strong start at the Silicon Valley 7s with a 29-7 win over Tonga. The rainy conditions made a big impact but a strong second half did the trick. Up next they will face a New Zealand team that surprisingly lost to Chile in round one.

Early on the Eagles looked like one of the more crisp teams in the competition and soon found themselves in Tonga's 22. However, the ball slipped out of Niua's hands. Still, the U.S. were able to win the ball back quickly and had a shout for a try in the corner via Matai Leuta. He was ruled to have been held up.

The wet conditions caused a lot of problems for both teams. Any time one team looked to have broken out the ball would slip out into contact. Tonga arguably had the best chance of the first half as the ball was sent out wide. The Tongan player soccer kicked it ahead but in the slippery conditions couldn't recover. Both he and the American defender couldn't really gain their footing trying to chase the ball.

Eventually the deadlock was broken. Tonga had been trying to go out wide and finally they were able to make the connection. Even with the U.S. chasing and getting the attacker on the ground Tonga were still able to scoop up the ball and dive over for the try. Nevertheless, the U.S. persisted and when Tonga made a mistake on the restart the U.S. were able to run a set play from midfield. Tonga initially stopped the break but Steve Tomasin saw that no one was home on the weakside and ran in for the try. At halftime Tonga led 7-5.

Take the jump to read more.

Photo: Connie Hatfield

Whatever Mike Friday said to the team at halftime it worked. Executing a well done restart to the half the U.S. were on the front foot. After making good meters it simply took a few quick phases before the ball was swung to Tomasin in the corner for his second try. Both Tomasin tries were set up by good runs from Malon Al-Jiboori.

Soon the Eagles were over again. Now winning the territory battle they were able to create a turnover at the breakdown. From there it was a quick pass out to Kevon Williams for the easy try. The conversion was off but the Eagles were up 17-7.

The restarts were the key for the Eagles in the second half. Being able to retain the ball put them in good position and they limited Tonga to their own half of the pitch. That's exactly how Steve Tomasin scored his third. Try. From a five meter lineout the Eagles simply executed and Tomasin finished. With less than a minute to go it was the Eagles 24-7 Tonga. Tomasin would grab one last try to make the final 29-7.

Up next for the Eagles will be New Zealand at 7:28 p.m. et/4:28 p.m. pt.

Thanks to Canterbury USA for making this weekend's coverage possible. 

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