Eagles get Kiwi rematch after Dubai Cup Semifinal loss to England

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - It took more than 14 minutes to separate the Men's Eagles Sevens and England in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup Semifinal Saturday, a 24-19 loss for the U.S.

The Eagles could not make it three defeats of Tier One opposition on the trot following wins against New Zealand and South Africa at 7he Sevens Stadium, despite scoring three tries. The Kiwis lost their own Cup Semifinal to Fiji to reach the Third-Place Match against the U.S. at 10:23 a.m. ET.

Following the New Zealand-Fiji battle that saw players out on their feet for the majority of the second half, the USA-England slugfest began on another level. Zack Test won possession to keep the ball out of England's hands from the get-go, and a swift-moving phase saw the Eagles well past the 10. Though Perry Baker could not find room to run on the wing, he sent play the other way, where Matai Leuta shrugged off Dan Bibby to open the scoring. Madison Hughes calmly slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Watch the Eagles fight for a place in the Dubai Cup Final >>

England knocked the restart under the Eagles' pressure for a scrum, and Maka Unufe soon brought the team to England's 22. Lueta drew a penalty after taking a few defenders on in contact before Garrett Bender nearly reached over the try line. He was tackled, but Test was there to grab from the breakdown and score.

In the sixth minute, a driving run from Richard de Carpentier pushed Leuta and Test back towards their 22, freeing space for Josh Watkins to score out wide. Before the referee could blow the halftime whistle, de Carpentier stole the restart from Bender for the match-leveling try.

Level at 12-12 after the break, the Eagles won possession from their opponent in the ninth minute after a diving tackle by Test. The attack patiently weighed England's defensive intentions and went wide to Leuta, who cut inside before offloading to Unufe. Unufe outran the following England defenders to restore the Eagles' lead at 19-12.

Weary from the pacey Eagles, England went for a lineout with a 12th-minute penalty to begin one of the longest sustained possessions of the match. Test created a turnover that was later seen to be a penalty, and a hard line run by Alex Gray just meters from the try line leveled the match at 19-19.

The final minute lasted about four minutes as the breakdown became more important than ever, with the next try sure to be the match-winner. Carlin Isles found himself corralled twice on the wing and Brett Thompson continued his strong run of play as a substitute before succumbing to an injury in the extra time. Leuta came back on via the new rolling substitute trial, but his infraction in the tackle area gave England the possession it needed to score. Sam Burgess dotted down in-goal to send England to the Cup Final.

The Eagles are assured at least 15 points from the first leg of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with their appearance in the Third-Place Match, which is scheduled for a 10:23 a.m. ET kickoff. The match can be viewed live on the World Rugby website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. England

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. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Will Holder

England | v. USA

1. Richard de Carpentier

2. Josh Watkins

3. Phil Burgess

4. Dan Norton

5. James Rodwell

6. Tom Mitchell

7. Dan Bibby

8. Tom Bowen

9. Cameron Cowell

10. Ruaridh McConnochie

11. John Brake

12. Alex Gray

Men's Eagles Sevens | 19

Tries: Leuta, Test, Unufe

Conversions: Hughes (2)

England | 24

Tries: Watkins, de Carpentier, Gray, Burgess

Conversions: Bibby (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens

v. Portugal - W 45-14

v. France - L 26-21

v. New Zealand - W 14-12

Cup QF v. South Africa - W 21-19

Cup SF v. England - L 24-19

Third-Place v. New Zealand - Saturday, Dec. 5 - 10:23 a.m. ET