NZ Take Out Eagles in Cup Quarters
TOKYO -- Two tries from USA star Zack Test weren't enough for the Eagles to beat New Zealand in the Tokyo Sevens Cup Quarterfinals. The Kiwis snuck by the Eagles 12-19 and now the USA are bound for the Plate Semifinals against Fiji at 12:24 a.m. ET.
Much improved defense and an emphasis on territory put New Zealand under early pressure. The USA didn't have much ball, but when they did they used it pretty well.
After a patient build up in the first half inside New Zealand's 22, Test threw a dummy pass and got the outside defender to bite. He shot the gap and scored under the sticks to give the USA an early 7-0 lead.
A blow came to the Eagles when captain Matt Hawkins left the game with an injury. Hawkins' leadership was missed, but with veterans like Mike Palefau, Zack Test, Shalom Suniula, and Colin Hawley the Eagles didn't lose their way.
New Zealand was content going side-to-side, patiently waiting for an Eagle mistep in coverage for the entire game. Ben Lam and Tim Mikkelson both scored, putting the Eagles back by a converted try at half time.
In the second, New Zealand was trying to hang on to their lead. With a cushion try scored by NZ, they relished every opportunity to eat clock and slow ball down. Test's second try was a beauty as he touched a dribbling grubber kick from Folau Niua down, but it came after the final hooter went. It was a strong showing, but not enough to advance to the cup semis.
Tries: Test (2)
New Zealand 19
Tries: Lam, Mikkelson, Kaka
Conversions: Kaka (2)
|Nick Edwards||Tim Mikkelson|
|Shalom Suniula||Belgium Tuatagaloa|
|Zack Test||Lote Raikabula|
|Matt Hawkins||Gillies Kaka|
|Folau Niua||Sherwin Stowers|
|Colin Hawley||Trinity Spooner-Neera|
|Mike Palefau||Ben Lam|
|Carlin Isles (8')||Luke Masirewa|
|Andrew Durutalo (2')||DJ Forbes (injured)|
|Jack Halalilo (10')||Matt Faddes (14')|
|Luke Hume (8')||Sam Dickson (injured)|
|Brett Thompson||Rocky Khan|