Eagles gain five standings points from Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Julien Saubade’s two second-half tries were the difference in the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens Bowl Semifinal Saturday as France ended the Men’s Eagles Sevens’ weekend with a 24-15 win.

The Eagles gain five points from the second leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series. Every standings point counts; at the end of the season, the top four teams will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

France was able to start the match with the ball both before and after the kickoff. The Eagles managed to go through a few phases before Terry Bouhraoua ran a nice line to score the first try in the second minute. The conversion from in front of the posts was successful for a 7-0 France lead.

The Eagles made sure to control the ensuing restart and found a way to France’s 22, but Carlin Isles lost the ball in contact. In the fourth minute, Bouhraoua found another gap between the Eagles’ defenders 15 meters from the try line to score his second of the match.

Mike Friday’s squad cut into France’s 14-0 lead before the end of the first period but well after the initial seven minutes had been played. Danny Barrett stole a France lineout before the hooter and received the ball a few phases later to get the Eagles to France’s 10. Andrew Durutalo finished the attack with the try, which was not converted for a 14-5 halftime score.

The momentum carried through to the second half, as the Eagles continued to look for a way on the scoreboard. Maka Unufe initiated the first possession by reaching out to send the kickoff to a teammate. The Eagles worked France around the pitch with multiple phases of play and Isles rewarded his teammates’ hard work with a try from the middle of the park in the 10th minute. Isles made one defender miss before rounding the outside lane into the try zone.

The 14-12 score lasted less than a minute as Saubade scored his first try – the match-winning try – by using his pace to beat Barrett on the wing. Captain Madison Hughes did not allow the try-scorer to set up an easy conversion, which was unsuccessful.

Saubade scored his second in the 14th minute after Julien Candelon kicked a loose ball away from the Eagles at midfield. The 24-10 scoreline was enough to kill the Eagles’ Bowl dreams, though Unufe added a consolation try in the dying seconds of the match. Unufe broke a tackle inside the Eagles’ half and outran four defenders to score and bring the final score to 24-10.

The Eagles will not have to wait long to get back at it, with Cell C Port Elizabeth Bay Sevens kicking off Dec. 12. World Rugby will announce the pool draw for the third leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series prior to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup Final.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. France
1. Carlin Isles
2. Pat Blair
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Aladdin Schirmer
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

France | v. USA
1. Vincent Deniau
2. Manoel Dall Igna
3. Jean Baptiste Mazoue
4. Terry Bouhraoua
5. Stephen Parez
6. Julien Jane
7. Julien Saubade
8. Jonathan Laugel
9. Virimi Vakatawa
10. Julien Candelon
11. Jean Baptiste Candelon
12. Vincent Inigo

Men's Eagles Sevens | 15
Tries: Durutalo, Isles, Unufe

France | 24
Tries: Bouhraoua (2), Saubade (2)
Conversions: Bouhraoua