Men beat Uruguay, win bronze at Pan American Games

TORONTO – The Men’s Eagles Sevens were able to take the podium at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Sunday with a third-place finish.

The U.S. defeated Uruguay, 40-12, in the rematch of the Guadalajara 2011 Rugby Sevens Bronze match, as a last-second loss to Canada in the Semifinal ended Team USA’s hopes for gold. Canada beat Argentina in the Final to sweep the rugby gold medals.

USA 31, Guyana 0

The day started off slowly for Mike Friday’s team, which allowed Guyana early time on the ball in the Quarterfinal. Perry Baker was hemmed in on the wing in the fourth minute, but the U.S. continued its patient play and Will Holder was rewarded with his first try of the tournament. Madison Hughes gave the squad a 14-0 lead at the half, then set up Brett Thompson for a try with a run following the second-half restart.

Ben Leatigaga and Carlin Isles capped off the scoring in the second half to send the U.S. into the Semifinal against Canada.

USA 19, Canada 26

Unlike the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships Final, in which the U.S. and Canada were held scoreless for nearly five minutes, Sunday’s Final began with a quick try for the home team. After an unfortunate-to-the-U.S. bounce on the opening kickoff, Canada took possession up the pitch and scored in the corner through Harry Jones.

Isles did his part to earn gold with a lung-busting, try-saving tackle on Nathan Hirayama in front of the posts. The referee awarded Canada a quick tap after a penalty in the breakdown, however, allowing John Moonlight enough space to power over the line for a 14-0 lead. As halftime closed in, Isles cut to the inside for a try to bring the deficit to 12-5.

In his final play of the match, Isles sliced through two defenders on the wing to level the tie in the eighth minute. As he grounded the ball, the speedster was tackled by Admir Cejvanovic, who was shown a yellow card for his cynicism.

The U.S. took the lead for the first time in the match and continued an unanswered scoring streak when Martin Iosefo dotted down in-goal in the 11th minute. Less than a minute later, Hirayama snuck around the ruck at midfield and scored to bring the score to 19-all.

Iosefo saved what could have been a match-winning try in the final minute of the half, chasing down and holding up his opposite number in the try zone. The U.S. was able to regain possession inside its own half, but could not escape danger before Cejvanovic forced the ball over the line through Baker’s tackle.

USA 40, Uruguay 12

With only one shot left at a medal, the U.S. scored early – Baker dotted down inside 60 seconds – and often in the Bronze Medal Match against Uruguay. Though Uruguay responded immediately after the opening score, additional tries from Baker and Stephen Tomasin saw the U.S. into halftime leading, 19-7.

Tomasin finished off another solo run by Hughes, while Mike Te’o and Garrett Bender each found the try zone before Uruguay added one last five-pointer in the final minute.

Men's Eagles Sevens | Toronto 2015 Pan American Games

1. Carlin Isles

2. Patrick Blair

3. Brett Thompson

4. Garrett Bender

5. Mike Te'o

6. Stephen Tomasin

7. Will Holder

8. Ben Leatigaga

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Martin Iosefo

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Guyana (W 31-0)

Tries: Holder, Hughes, Thompson, Leatigaga, Isles

Conversions: Hughes (2), Augspurger

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Canada (W 26-19)

Tries: Isles (2), Iosefo

Conversions: Augspurger (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Uruguay (W 40-12)

Tries: Baker (2), Tomasin (2), Te'o, Bender

Conversions: Hughes (2), Te'o, Augspurger (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | Toronto 2015 Pan American Games

v. Chile - W 26-7

v. Mexico - W 48-0

v. Uruguay - W 52-0

v. Guyana - W 31-0

v. Canada - L 26-19

v. Uruguay - W 40-12