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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hamilton 7s: Draw With Kenya Sees Eagles Miss Top Eight


It was all on the line for the Eagles as they faced Kenya in their final pool match at the Hamilton 7s. Unfortunately it didn't work out for the U.S. as they drew 19-19. That result put Kenya into the top eight while the U.S. missed out. They will rue several missed opportunities on the day not only in the match against Kenya but also against Samoa and the first half against Canada. The Series is so competitive that any slip can cost you a top eight appearance as it did to the Eagles. They will now play Spain in the Bowl quarterfinals.

Things didn't start well for the States. Capitalizing on a turnover at the breakdown a Kenyan player was able to spot a gap on the weak side that he exploited for a try just one minute in. The troubles kept coming defensively. They had few answers for the electric Kenyans who did well at forcing the U.S. to miss tackles with great offloads. A few minutes later they added a third to lead 19-0. It was absolutely the opposite of the performance the U.S. wanted in the half. Finally at the end of the half the U.S. were able to peg a try back from a long range try from Perry Baker. At the break Kenya led 19-7.

Take the jump to read more.

A try just thirty seconds into the second half brought the Eagles back into it. Coming on as a substitute at the half Carlin Isles showed his pace to race around the outside. The conversion was good and the Eagles were back at 19-14. A won restart and the U.S. were back at it. Kenya were shown a yellow card for a high tackle and with a man the U.S. went on the attack. Slick passing saw Isles in for his second. That try tied the score and the U.S. could have gone ahead but the conversion was off.

A draw wouldn't be good enough for the Eagles. Given other results in the pool they needed to win by four to ensure a spot in the top eight. Unfortunately they couldn't keep their hands on the ball for much of the last three minutes and with just seconds to go Kenya ran out the clock to end the match. The draw put them in the quarterfinals and saw the U.S. miss out for the second time in four tournaments this season.

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1 comment:

  1. Terribly vexed by the way the Eagles play now. Yes I get it the player of the year is on the wing and he certainly delivers. Love Baker. But it appears the entire game plan is reduced to getting him the ball at the cost of the other players’ offensive talents. Where is the interior attack? Folau dummy pass? Maka slice and dice. Barrett devastating runs? They all just pass the ball to Baker. I don’t get it. He still scores a lot but they look very one dimensional this season. The lineup of 7 has been reduced to 1.

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