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Friday, April 6, 2018

Hong Kong 7s: Eagles Snatch A Draw From Defeat

Photo: All World Photo

France looked very threatening early getting within meters of the line. Despite an excellent steal from Martin Iosefo France were up to the task and pinned in the Eagles deep. That earned them a five meter scrum and from there the big Frenchman Pierre Lakafia dragged Iosefo and Perry Baker acros the line for the try.

Possession, which has been the key to U.S. wins this year, was lacking for the team as France did well to take care of the ball and deny the U.S. when they had possession. That, coupled with less than stellar effort in the tackling department led to a second try for France.

It wasn't all bad for the Eagles in the first half as Folau Niua ran in the long range try. Niua isn't normally the one benefiting from running a tight line and showing some speed but that's exactly what he did as the U.S. was able to cut the deficit to 12-5 at the break.

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Unfortunately any momentum gained from the Niua try to end the half was stopped when Tavite Veredamu fended off a couple of U.S. defenders to pace in for the try. That try was a killer as it put France up 19-5. Just a couple of minutes later, after more possession, France scored their fourth try of the match to effectively seal the result.

The Eagles did make things interesting with a couple of minutes left on the backs of Perry Baker and Carlin Isles. First it was Baker scoring a patented electric long-range try and then it was Isles evading the defense. With a restart to come the U.S. were back in it at 24-19. A strong counter-ruck gave the U.S. one last opportunity on a set play after the hooter.  France were soon penalized and a man in the bin for cynical play. With the man advantage Folau Niua found the perfect pass out to Isles who scored in the corner. That tied the score at 24-24 with a Steve Tomasin conversion to come. Unfortunately it was off but the U.S. was still able to salvage a result out of nothing.


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