Eagles to contest Bowl at Tokyo Sevens
TOKYO – The Men’s Eagles Sevens will miss the Cup round on day two of Tokyo Sevens following a 24-15 loss to South Africa Saturday.
Defeat in the final Pool C match of the seventh leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series for Mike Friday’s squad leaves the U.S. with five points. Canada advances to the Cup with South Africa following a 16-point defeat of Kenya.
Danny Barrett seemingly gave the Eagles a lead directly from the kickoff by catching the deflected ball. With his forward momentum, Barrett drove in-goal through a tackle, only to have the ball knocked out of his hands before it could be grounded.
Carlin Isles, fresh from a hat-trick performance against Canada at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, made a few crucial tackles in the ensuing play and showed the defensive work rate preached by Friday. He used the same effort to beat three South African defenders to the try line in the second minute to dive over for the match’s first try.
Isles was again put to the test in the fourth minute as South Africa’s attack neared the Eagles’ try line. Kyle Brown went into the contact just as hard as the speedster and came out the winner with a try for his efforts.
In the sixth minute, Madison Hughes sent a booming kick into South Africa’s end for Isles to chase. Though he was not able to get to the ball first, Isles kept hold of the ball carrier long enough for his teammates to rush down the pitch. The Eagles forced a turnover and looked to take the lead.
Garrett Bender made a nifty run to the inside from the wing through three defenders, and Durutalo grabbed the ball from the breakdown to reach over the try line and dot down in-goal.
The 10-5 lead at halftime did not last a full minute, as a knock by Bender on the kickoff gave South Africa a well-placed scrum. Cecil Afrika punished the error with a try for a 12-10 lead, and Werner Kok followed his teammate with a try of his own a minute later.
Test attempted to stem the bleeding by catching the restart, but it was knocked out of his hands as he was brought down by Durutalo. Ruhan Nel took the ball through the defensive line that had not formed to extend South Africa’s lead to 24-10.
Seabelo Senatla took out Perry Baker on the wing with a dangerous tackle, forcing the referee into action. The match official showed the Series-leading try-scorer a yellow card with two minutes still to play. It took nearly two minutes, but Barrett eventually found the try zone for the Eagles to end an extended attack and bring the final score to 24-15.
Despite an identical record to both Canada and Kenya, the Eagles’ point differential did not hold up through Canada’s 26-10 defeat of Kenya. The Eagles will play Portugal in the Bowl Quarterfinals at 9:58 p.m. ET Sunday. Watch Tokyo Sevens live on Universal Sports and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.
Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. South Africa
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta
South Africa | v. USA
1. Chris Dry
2. Carel du Preez
3. Frankie Horn
4. Kwagga Smith
5. Werner Kok
6. Kyle Brown
7. Branco du Preez
8. Ruhan Nel
9. Justin Geduld
10. Cecil Afrika
11. Seabelo Senatla
12. Rosko Specman
Men’s Eagles Sevens | 15
Tries: Isles, Durutalo, Barrett
South Africa | 24
Tries: Brown, Afrika, Kok, Nel
Conversions: Afrika, Geduld
Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens
v Kenya – L 27-5
v Canada – W 22-14
v South Africa – L 24-15
Bowl QF v Portugal – Saturday, April 4 – 9:58 p.m. ET