Sunday, March 11, 2018

Vancouver 7s: Eagles Win Defensive Battle Over New Zealand

Photo: David Barpal
If you liked defensive battles than you would have loved the Eagles 17-0 win over New Zealand in the Cup quarterfinals at the Vancouver 7s. Neither team was quick with the ball throughout as each side slugged it out. The difference was the playmaking ability of players like Folau Niua and Perry Baker that gave the U.S. an offensive edge. Now the U.S. will play either England or Kenya in the semi-finals.

Neither team was able to find a breakthrough in the first half. Each side had a number of errors early but as they settled in it was clear that the defense from both sides was keyed in. New Zealand had more of the offense but it was all in their own half.

Perry Baker was the closest to scoring early but New Zealand was able to stop him short of the line. That would repeat itself one more time leaving the score at 0-0 at halftime.

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In the second half the U.S. were able to gain an edge in the territory and possession and that is what made the difference. Full credit to the Eagles for staying clinical throughout the second half. New Zealand didn't make it easy and pinned them back early but the U.S. were eventually able to find Baker in space. He was contained but passed to Carlin Isles to finish it off for a 7-0 lead.

Without many restarts in the match the U.S. did well to win the rare one. That put them in a great possession so even when New Zealand had the ball the U.S. were able to win it back. That led to Danny Barrett then scoring in the corner to put the U.S. up 12-0.

After that the U.S. did a good job of winding the clock down for the win. There was a bizarre sequence at the end in which Kevon Williams scored a try after it looked like he crawled over the line and a New Zealand player sent to the bin. All with time expired and the game already won.

Making back to back semi-finals is a huge accomplishment, especially after the energy spent last week in Vegas.

The U.S. will play either England or Kenya at 6:30 p.m. et/3:30 p.m. pt.

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