Second half monkey off Eagles' back with Portugal win
USA v. Portgual - Shield Semifinal
The Eagles exorcised their demons against Portugal and came from behind in the last minute of the game to win 17-14 over a very good Portugese team in the Shield Semifinal.
After going up before half time, Eagles fans may have been concerned that the second half would get the better of the USA as it did on day one, but a late try by Andrew Durutalo finished the Portugese off and advanced the USA to the Shield Semifinal.
A slow start gave Portugal an early lead but Folau Niua took it upon himself to get his team going. He used his strength and excellent body position to shake off Portugese defenders for 40 meters to the try line. With only seconds left before the first half hooter the USA regained possession and worked their way down into Portugese territory where they combined to find Mike Palefau on the wing to score.
It was very back and forth in the second half and both teams were found guilty of turnovers and penalties. Portugal's Aderito Esteves gave his team a 14-12 lead but solid work at the ruck gave the Eagles one last shot with 20 seconds on the clock.
Patience and good support eventually led to a Folau Niua break and Andrew Durutalo was in support to finish and score the game winner. Niua was crucial in this game and has transitioned back into the starting seven this tournament and deservedly so.
The USA play the winner of Kenya v. Zimbabwe in the Shield Final at 9:42 a.m. MDT/11:42 a.m. EDT.
USA v. Russia - Bowl Quarterfinal
The USA stormed out of the gates in the Bowl Quarterfinal with three first half tries. Colin Hawley scored a nice one and Andrew Durutalo had a brace in the first seven minutes, but the Eagles couldn't keep their foot on the throat to finish and Russia stormed back to score in the last 10 seconds to get the win.
Turnovers and penalties in the second half gave the Russians the ball they needed to get things going. Vladimir Ostroushko scored two unanswered tries to bring the Russians within four points. Tai Enosa tried to put the game a converted try away with a drop goal, but missed the mark. Somehow the Eagles regained possession from Enosa's kick but turned it over eventually in their red zone. Missed tackles and scrambling defense are a dangerous combo, particularly late in tight games, and those types of mistakes were compounded by a series of penalties that eventually led to Russia scoring in the corner with time expiring.
A lack of finishing ability cost the USA two games on day one against Australia and England, where they were either tied or ahead for significant stretches of time, but weren't able to close.
All games will be shown live on http://universalsports.com/
Tries: Hawley, Durutalo (2)
Cons: Niua (3)
Tries: Gostyuzhev, Ostroushko(2), Galinovskiy
Tries: Niua, Palefau, Durutalo
Tries: Moreira, Esteves