Hat-trick hero Test gives Friday’s Eagles debut win

GOLD COAST, Queensland – Mike Friday got off to the perfect start as head coach of the Men’s Eagles Sevens after Zack Test’s hat trick gave the Americans a 17-15 victory against Canada Saturday.

A patient Eagles side held its defensive shape to stifle Canada for the first few minutes of the Gold Coast Sevens match at Cbus Super Stadium. In the fifth minute, Test broke through a tackle by Harry Jones and sidestepped another defender to open the Eagles’ account. Captain Madison Hughes’ conversion gave the men in white a 7-0 lead.

After a series of several timely tackles by Carlin Isles on the wing, the speedster could not hold down Justin Douglas. The Canadian No. 8 jumped back to his feet to dive over in-goal. The Eagles remained in the lead, however, following a missed conversion from Jones.

Even with a 7-5 lead at the half, Friday was not satisfied. A spirited talking-to and additional encouragement from the try-scorer provided the impetus for a try just one minute into the second frame. After Isles was taken down in the middle of the pitch, the Eagles moved the ball wide to Test. The Oregon man faked a pass to Isles and used his patented sidestep again to extend the Eagles’ lead to 12-7. The try was also Test’s 100th on the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series.

A few penalties on both sides of the ball forced the Eagles backward and eventually assisted a Canadian try. Lucas Hammond received the ball in the eleventh minute after Jones drew two defenders to the ground and dotted down to draw his team within two at 12-10.

It did not take long for Canada to pounce again after the Eagles coughed up possession on the restart. The neighbors maintained possession through multiple phases and capped it off with a try in the corner through Douglas.

Down, 15-12, Friday inserted fresh legs by replacing Isles with Perry Baker, and it almost paid immediate dividends. With his first touch of the ball, the winger broke the gain line and strode to midfield before he could be taken down. The effort was not in vain, however, as the Eagles set up Test with crisp passing for the late try and 17-15 win.

Test is the current leader in try scoring for the Eagles with 101. After the first round of Pool D matches, the Eagles sit in second place on point differential behind Argentina, who defeated England, 21-19, in the Gold Coast Sevens’ first match.

England will line up alongside the Eagles next, at 10:51 P.M. ET. Watch the first leg of the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series on Universal Sports and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men's Eagles Sevens | Gold Coast Sevens
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Peter Tiberio
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua (@ 11')
8. Maka Unufe
9. Garrett Bender
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker (@ 13')
12. Pat Blair

Canada | Starting XV
1.Jordan Wilson-Ross (s)
2. Jake Webster (s)
3. Mike Fuailefau
4. John Moonlight
5. Conor Trainor
6. Sean Duke (s)
7. Lucas Hammond
8. Justin Douglas
9. Jack Smith (s)
10. Ciaran Hearn
11. Harry Jones
12. Adam Zaruba

Men's Eagles Sevens | 17
Tries: Test (3)
Conversions: Hughes

Canada | 15
Tries: Douglas (2), Hammon

Men's Eagles Sevens | Gold Coast Sevens
v Canada - Friday, October 10 - 8:12 P.M. ET
v England - Friday, October 10 - 10:51 P.M. ET
v Argentina - Saturday, October 11 - 2:07 A.M. ET