Men’s USA Eagles staved off a second-half comeback from France to win the Bowl at Gold Coast Sevens.
GOLD COAST, Queensland – The Men’s Eagles Sevens staved off a second-half comeback from France Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium to win the match, 31-15, and the Bowl at Gold Coast Sevens.
Zack Test kicked off the festivities with the match’s first try in the second minute after a set play from the line-out.
Folua Niua ran around his lifted team-mate to get the ball out to Madison Hughes in the middle of the pitch, and all the captain had to do was get the ball to Test. For his sixth try of the tournament, Test used the threat of Perry Baker on the wing to catch the France defenders looking to the outside and ran straight to the try zone.
Keeping their defensive shape throughout the first half, the Eagles were tested by France, who defeated Canada and Scotland during the knock-out phases of Day Two to earn their berth in the Bowl Final. Big Virimi Vakatawa required a two-man commitment in the tackle to be taken down, and Baker and Test responded to the challenge in the fourth minute to force a turnover.
A minute later, Hughes, Niua, and Test dizzied the defense with quick movement on a set play from a quick tap at midfield to create a hole for Garrett Bender. After a weekend of tough work with the forwards, Bender was rewarded with his first try of the tournament to extend the Eagles’ lead to 10-0.
Not long after the restart, the first-half horn sounded to signal the break, but the Eagles were awarded a line-out.
It only took a few extra seconds of the referee’s time to get the ball to the wing and in the hands of Baker, who rounded the corner for his fifth try of the tournament. Hughes’ conversion gave the Eagles a 17-0 lead at the half.
In previous years, the Eagles struggled to close out matches on the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series circuit. Sunday, they almost let France steal the match with… Read More>