Last second try robs Eagles of Cup Semifinal

LONDON, England – The Men’s Eagles Sevens team lost 24-19 against Australia on the final play of the game, ending hopes of a Cup Semifinal at Twickenham.

For the second time at the London Sevens the Eagles faced Australia. And for the second time they lost a heartbreaking match in the dying seconds. The result puts the United States into the Plate Semifinal against South Africa at 9:45 AM E.T.

The Eagles started strongly with Andrew Durutalo creating a great turn-over following the kick off. The hard-working prop threw a classic dummy then found Nick Edwards who set up Brett Thompson for a fantastic try. Shalom Suniula kicked the conversion for a 7-0 start.

At the breakdown the USA was clinical, enabling a great attacking platform. Durutalo was involved yet again, switching with Matt Hawkins. The Eagle captain steamed down the touchline, but had the ball dislodged 5-meters from scoring.

Australia took the Eagles on, but defensive pressure resulted in another turnover. Edwards changed the angle, with Durutalo drawing two defenders then popping to the ever-present Thompson. Suniula ran a beautiful line off Thompson and bust through for a the Eagles’ second try. He then converted a difficult conversion, putting the Eagles up 14-0.

Australia responded with speed merchant Cameron Clark touching down as the halftime hooter sounded. The kick missed, leaving the Eagles 14-5 in front.

Durutalo used his strength to lift Thompson off the restart to claim the high kickoff. Test looked to be in space, then forced a pass, with Australia taking possession. The Wallabies moved it wide with Lewis Holland finishing off a brilliant loop, scoring in the corner. The Eagles lead was reduced to 14-10.

Australia took advantage of two penalties, working their way to the Eagles tryline. Holland added his second try to give Australia a 17-14 lead following the conversion, with less than two minutes to play. The Eagles didn’t panic, and following two aggressive rucks, Suniula sent a beautiful pass to Edwards just outside his 22-meter. Edwards ran a spectacular inside-outside line to score an amazing long-range try. The Eagles led 19-17 with time for only one Australian possession left in the match.  

With the crowd at Twickenham on the edge of their seats, Australia mounted an excellent comeback. The Eagles put in some massive hits, but it wasn’t enough as Australian James Stannard slid over in the corner on the final play of the game, sending them to the Cup Semifinals with a 24-19 victory.

“We are extremely disappointed and should have won that game. It’s something we will have to analyse and fix. We should be moving on the Cup Semifinals. ” said a frustrated Hawkins.  

The Eagles will now face South Africa, who they defeated for the first time in 27 games during yesterday’s pool stages. The match will kick-off at 9:45 AM E.T.

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Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. South Africa
1  Carlin Isles (s)
2  Nick Edwards
3  Andrew Durutalo
4  Shalom Suniula
5  Zach Test
6  Matt Hawkins
7  Folau Niua
8  Sione Pila Taufa (s)
9  Luke Hume (s)
10  Blaine Scully (s)
11  Colin Hawley (s)
12  Brett Thompson

Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. Australia
Tries: Thompson, Suniula, Edwards
Conversions: Suniula (2)

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Staff
Alex Magleby (Head Coach)
Andy Katoa (Manager)
Brian Green (Physio)
Hamish Kerr (Doctor)

Men’s Eagles Sevens | London Results & Fixtures
USA 19 France 17
USA 15 Australia 19
USA 19 South Africa 12
USA 19 Australia 24 (Cup Semifinal)
USA vs. South Africa (Plate Semifinal) 9:45 AM E.T.