By USA Rugby
LAS VEGAS – The USA Men’s Eagle Sevens team lost a nail-biter to Australia in the USA Sevens bowl semifinal after a dominant 21-5 win over France in the bowl quarters.
The win over France was the Eagles’ only ‘W’ of the tournament, but a 1-4 record in Vegas perhaps doesn’t represent the progress the team showed in front of their home crowd.
“If you look at our games this week, all of the games have been pretty competitive. So, we’re almost there, we just have got to make sure our players don’t lose sight of it and they keep their confidence high and continue to progress,” said the USA Head Coach, Al Caravelli.
A heartbreaker in the bowl semifinal was the last appearance for the home team at the USA Sevens, losing 19-14.
New Zealand have failed to claim their third-consecutive Sevens World Series tournament victory after they were upset 26-19 by Samoa in the final of the Las Vegas leg today.
Alafoti Faosiliva’s try after the hooter gave Samoa victory. The scores had been locked at 19-all after New Zealand fought back from 19-5 down with only three minutes remaining.
Tries to Tomasi Cama and Ardie Savea in the dying stages gave New Zealand hope but ultimately Samoa had more attacking flair.
New Zealand were without wrecking-ball wing Frank Halai and the experienced Solomon King for the final with both players out with injury.
Halai, who is the top try-scorer on the Sevens World Series, was sorely missed, with his bullocking runs on the flanks a feature of New Zealand’s dominance on tour this season.
Samoa opened the scoring in the first spell with a try to Faosiliva after the Pacific Island side were given a controversial penalty at the ruck.
Despite the tournament being held in Las Vegas the Samoans had a huge following with numerous red and blue flags popping up in the crowd.
The Kiwis hit back through the pacy Charles Piutau, but two more Samoa tries had the underdogs in front at the split.
New Zealand battled in the second spell but failed to hold the ball for long enough periods to assert any dominance on the game against a bruising Samoan side.
Their late fireworks made the game interesting but Samoa just had more strike power when it mattered.
New Zealand’s road to the final was paved via a semifinal win against South Africa 20-7 and a grinding 12-7 quarter-final victory over England.
The Kiwis made their way through pool play with victories over Samoa, Australia and Japan.
After Samoa finished second in Pool A they powered to the showpiece game with a 19-14 quarter-final win over Kenya and a come-from-behind 14-12 semifinal victory over Fiji.
Fiji finished third with a 21-15 win over South Africa in the bronze final.
New Zealand sevens skipper DJ Forbes was looking on the positive side of a tough but successful day at the office for his IRB series leaders in Sin City.
Forbes and his men won through to yet another semi-final (against South Africa) after surviving unscathed after two testing encounters on day two of a Las Vegas sevens tournament that looks to be gaining in popularity.
Close to 14,000 fans packed UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium, and they saw the in-form New Zealand side close out pool play with a 12-5 win over Samoa, then grind out a nerve-racking 12-7 victory over England in the quarterfinal.
“We’ve got to be satisfied,” said Forbes at the end of play as he contemplated what looks to be a challenging semi-final against a South African outfit that thumped Argentina 24-5 in their quarterfinal.
“We’re in the semi-final, and ultimately that’s what it’s about in the world series. We’re still in the hunt for maximum points and that’s probably the key thing.”
But Forbes conceded that the New Zealand game had never got going on a second day when they struggled to find fluency, not to mention favour from the whistle-blowers.
“It’s becoming the story of out year,” shrugged the shaven headed sevens warrior. “We’ve had pretty hard draws at every tournament, and that’s tested the boys mentally.
“We know we can match it with any of the other teams, but when things go against us it tests the character. Coming through the way we did against Samoa and then England was definitely pleasing.”
Forbes liked the way his men dug in for a big-time defensive stand over the second half against England, surviving a couple of likely opportunities for the northerners.
“It’s why you play the game – for the big occasions like this. Then you see who can mentally keep it together.”
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
Before day 2 kicks off in Las Vegas, late round 1 matches were settled under the lights in Las Vegas with New Zealand and Fiji coming out on top within their respective pools. New Zealand dominated their first match against Australia 35-5 backing it up with a 42-5 win over Japan heading into day 2 with a enormous confidence. While Fiji made head way by sealing up a close 14-12 match against Argentina before plowing over USA with a 33-19 win.
While these two teams are still poised to duke it out at the top of the IRB World Series standings, look out for rival nations like South Africa and Samoa who are also going into day 2 with 2-0 records after day 1. Things are heating up in Las Vegas, stay tuned!!
Zach Test’s 1st minute try seemed to set the tone for a much needed Eagle’s win over rival Canada in the Vegas 7′s second match of the afternoon. While maintaing the lead into half time with 12-9, things just seemed to be working right for USA. A questionable substitution just after the half of Collin Hawley (scored second try of the match) for Duratalo followed by sloppy ball handling lead to a heartbreaking try by Canada to wrap up the match. Canada 19-12 USA.
Not a great way to begin the tournament on home turf where they really needed a confidence booster but the fans are sticking by them with “USA” chants from the crowd.
Other Pool B results: Fiji 14-12 ARG
This week’s round of the IRB Sevens World Series brings us to none other than Sin City itself: Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the 5th stop of the 9 stop series which will continue on to Hong Kong next month. Fresh off a win last week in their home country of New Zealand, the All Blacks look to widen their 3 point lead over Fiji with a win in the United States.
As we look at the pool matches and line ups, the host country United States, coming back from a disappointing showing at the Wellington Sevens with absolutely no wins, has yet another tough schedule ahead of them with Pool B match ups against: Fiji, Argentina, and North American rival Canada.
Look for New Zealand and Fiji to duke it out in the top of the standings yet again, while South Africa tries to defend last years title and challenge the top of the standings.
After losing to Wales in the Bowl quarterfinal, the USA Eagles slipped down to compete for the Shield. In the semi-final they were unable to overcome Scotland, falling 14-12, despite having a one-man advantage for almost the last two minutes. Even with Roland Suniula’s two tries against Scotland, the Eagles will go home bitterly disappointed at being winless in Wellington.
Wales put the USA out of competition for the Bowl in the quarter-finals by 10-0. The Eagles haven’t won a game in Wellington and will be very disappointed with their performance. Coach Al Caravelli had hoped for more. The Eagles will now compete forthe Shield a little later in the day.
The Eagles lost a heartbreaker against the Cook Islands, 26-22. A very tough tournament for the Eagles here at the Wellington Sevens, going 0-3 in their pool games.
The USA Eagles have lost their second Wellington Sevens match by 29-0 against England.