Japan edges USA out of Bowl Final

For Immediate Release

March 27, 2011

Japan edges USA out of Bowl Final


HONG KONG - Japan defeated the USA in the final minutes of the Hong Kong Sevens Bowl Semifinal and eliminated the Eagles from the Bowl Final.


The Eagles defeated Tonga 26-21 in the Bowl Quarterfinals to advance to the semifinal round.




The attacking prowess of Paul Emerick and Zack Test and the cool-headedness of Captain Matt Hawkins were the core of the Eagles' successes in Hong Kong.  All of those players contributed to the American score line against Tonga and the boot of Shalom Suniula and late game heroics from Hawkins ensured America's entry into the Bowl Semifinal.


Tonga put the USA under pressure first, with Fonua Tonga scoring a converted try to put his side up early.


The USA answered back and Test got the Eagles on the board in the fifth minute.  Shalom Suniula converted to level the scores 7-7.


After scoring a hat trick against China on Saturday, Paul Emerick was very effective against Tonga also, scoring a converted try just before halftime.


Test did what he does best once more to open the scoring in the second half and Suniula converted again.


Tonga scored two unanswered tries to bring the scores level at 21-21.  Extra time would be needed to decide the winner and Hawkins provided the winning score for the USA in thrilling fashion.




Japan pulled an upset defeating Scotland in the Bowl Quarterfinals to earn a spot in the semis.  Four of the last six matches the Eagles have played in the HSBC Sevens World Series have been against Japan, so the two sides knew one another very well.  The USA also beat Japan in Shield Final at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas last month, something the Japanese were sure to remember.


Staunch Eagle defense and disciplined attack defined the first half for the USA and it looked to be going the way of the Eagles early.


Justin Boyd started the scoring, getting good ball at pace, sizing up the defense and slicing through two drifting defenders for a try.  Boyd looked to be playing with plenty of confidence and was a threat the entire game.


Shalom Suniula was at his elusive best against Japan and made a nice break towards the end of the first half.  Thanks to great support from Hawkins and Boyd, Suniula was able to convert the break into points.  Hawkins was on the receiving end of a switch pass from Suniula to nullify a Japanese defender in pursuit and put the USA up 12-0 at halftime.


Al Caravelli told his troops at halftime, "It's 0-0, finish this game."  The Eagles started strong in the second half, but a knock on by the USA opened the door for Japan and they would capitalize, scoring a try through Lote Tuqiri.


Japan struck again minutes after their first score, breaking the American line and, with two Japanese players running in support, were able to draw American defenders and score right underneath the posts.  The simple conversion would prove to be the difference in the game.


The Eagles made a last gasp effort in the final two minutes to get another try with Zack Test powering down the touch line and getting tripped up only feet away from the try zone.  Japan was able to halt the Eagle attack and finish the game on top, eliminating the USA from the Bowl Final.


The Eagles will head to Australia next week for the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series where they will take on Pool C opponents Fiji, Australia, and Tonga.


Further information:

Jarrod Beckstrom | Communications Manager | USA Rugby | jbeckstrom@usarugby.org| 303-539-0300 ext. 124


Follow USA Rugby on Facebook and Twitter (@usaeaglesrugby)!


2010-2011 HSBC Sevens World Series:

Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s | Dubai, UAE | December 3-4, 2010

Emirates Airline South Africa 7s | George, South Africa | December 10-11, 2010

NZI Sevens | Wellington, New Zealand | February 4-5, 2011

USA Sevens | Las Vegas, USA | February 12-13, 2011

Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens | Hong King, China | March 25-27, 2011

Adelaide Sevens | Adelaide, Australia | April 2-3, 2011

Emirates Airline London Sevens | London, England | May 21-22, 2011

Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival | Edinburgh, Scotland | May 28-29, 2011