Eagles help Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Cup push with defeat of Wales

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – The Men’s Eagles Sevens scored six tries to defeat Wales in their second match of Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Saturday, a 38-12 victory in the third leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series.

Following Wales’ defeat of Kenya and the Eagles’ loss to South Africa in the first round of matches at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Mike Friday’s team needed a win to stay in the Cup picture. It was the Welsh, however, who started the match with a try.

The combination of Danny Barrett and Zack Test failed to hold up Sion Bennett in-goal for a 5-0 lead to Wales inside the first minute. The celebration was short-lived, as a yellow card was shown to Aled Jenkins a minute later and Perry Baker made short work of the defense of the remaining six defenders. The speedster raced down the touch line to reward the Eagles’ dominant possession in the preceding minutes.

Madison Hughes missed the conversion but more than made up for it at the end of the first half with a try. The Dartmouth College full back followed a turnover play at midfield and ran onto a pass to pull away from the last defender. Hughes successfully kicked the second conversion to give the Eagles a 12-5 halftime lead.

Danny Barrett got up for Folau Niua’s second-half kickoff to give his team a platform to extend the momentum gained at the end of the first frame. Wales committed a penalty in the ensuing attack and Maka Unufe finished it with a try by stepping between two defenders about 15 meters from the try line.

Wales replied a minute later with a sweeping attack that saw the ball move wing to wing inside the Eagles’ 22. Luke Morgan receive the ball on his team’s left touch line and fended Baker to score and draw the sides closer at 19-12.

Andrew Durutalo had a try taken away from him after seemingly dotting down behind his back in the corner of the try zone. The referee spoke with his assistant referee and consulted the Referee Video Referee before ruling Durutalo had a foot in touch before grounding the ball in-goal.

Despite the setback, the Eagles continued their onslaught on Wales’ try line and scored within a minute of the non-try. Martin Iosefo intercepted a pass deep in Wales’ half and the Eagles cycled possession without being caught in a ruck. Niua’s name entered the scoresheet, but it was a complete team try to extend the lead to 26-12.

Barrett caught the ensuing restart and ran into the try zone for the Eagles fifth try before Carlin Isles sealed the match with a last-minute try down the wing.

The 38-12 win moves the Eagles to second in Pool A with an even point differential and one match remaining. Kenya, still searching for a win, will take on the Eagles in their final pool match of the day.

Watch the Eagles and Kenya at 12:36 p.m. ET on Universal Sports and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Wales
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

Wales | v. USA
1. Lee Williams
2. Tom Williams
3. William Rhodri Davies
4. Luke Morgan
5. Tomos Williams
6. Aled Jenkins
7. Steffan James Jones
8. Lloyd Evans
9. Sion Bennett
10. David Craig Price
11. Jason Harries
12. Jevon Groves

Men's Eagles Sevens | 38
Tries: Baker, Hughes, Unufe, Niua, Barrett, Isles
Conversions: Hughes (4)

Wales | 12
Tries: Bennett, Morgan
Conversions: Williams