Cup spot secure as Eagles hurdle Portugal in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Eight tries, including two hat tricks, propelled the Men's Eagles Sevens to a 52-7 defeat of Portugal at HSBC Cape Town Sevens Saturday.

Bookended by a try apiece from the "Chuckle Brothers," Perry Baker and Carlin Isles, captain Madison Hughes and Folau Niua each crossed the try line thrice in the U.S.'s second win of the second round of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Already assured a place in Sunday's Cup Quarterfinals, the Eagles will fight for the top seed out of Pool C against Australia at 10:19 a.m. ET.

See every try in the full match replay

The Eagles made sure to get off to a better start than in the tournament-opening win against Wales, recovering the opening kickoff and building up the attack to set Baker free. Hughes' conversion attempt was unsuccessful, though he would not miss another in the match, for a 5-0 lead.

Niua returned possession to the U.S. in forcing Portugal to lose the ball forward in the third minute, and an extended possession led up to the No. 7 feeding his captain in the corner for a 12-0 lead after five minutes.

In about 90 seconds, Niua kicked three restarts and three tries were scored. Will Holder knocked the sixth-minute restart back to Niua, who stepped over a tackle in stride to cross the line. He collected the ensuing restart himself and found a gap for his second try, and jumped on a loose ball after the third restart to set up Hughes' second score. All told, Hughes and Niua accounted for 26 of the Eagles' 31 points in the first half.

Hughes again was the beneficiary of a Niua-forced turnover to get his third try in the eighth minute, and Niua responded with a chip kick over the defense on the next possession to nab his own hat-trick try. More importantly for Mike Friday, the team's seventh try extended the team's lead to 45-0.

Portugal's lone try came in the 12th minute following Kevin Swiryn's sin-bin offense, but Isles restored the 45-point margin between the sides by rounding a near-midfield scrum. Holder converted the try to bring the final score to 52-7.

The Eagles will face one of the top two seeds from Pool B - England, Kenya, South Africa, or Zimbabwe - in the Cup Quarterfinals. The table-topper clash between the U.S. and Australia will commence at Cape Town Stadium at 10:19 a.m. ET and can be streamed live online on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Portugal

1. Carlin Isles

2. Matai Leuta

3. Brett Thompson

4. Garrett Bender

5. Zack Test

6. Kevin Swiryn

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Thretton Palamo

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Will Holder

Portugal | v. USA

1. Bernardo Canas

2. Vasco Ribeiro

3. David Carvalho

4. Pedro Leal

5. Michael Andrade

6. Carl Murray

7. Pedro Silverio

8. Francisco Vieira

9. Joao Belo

10. Antonio Vidinha

11. Joao Vaz Antunes

12. Vasco Batista

Men's Eagles Sevens | 52

Tries: Baker, Hughes (3), Niua (3), Isles

Conversions: Hughes (5), Holder

Discipline: Swiryn (Yellow)

Portugal | 7

Tries: Leal

Conversions: Leal

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Cape Town Sevens

v. Wales - W 26-19

v. Portugal - W 52-7

v. Australia - Saturday, Dec. 12 - 10:19 a.m. ET