U.S. continues roll over New Zealand in Cape Town Plate Semifinal

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - The Men's Eagles Sevens continued their unbeaten streak against New Zealand on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Sunday in a 28-14 victory in the HSBC Cape Town Plate Semifinal.

Will Holder crossed the try line twice to double his account against the All Blacks Sevens after a brace of tries in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Third-Place Match. The Eagles had earned their first win of the matchup all-time in pool play that weekend. Fiji awaits Mike Friday's team in the Plate Final at Cape Town Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 11:33 a.m. ET.

Watch the Eagles beat New Zealand for the third time running

Folau Niua and Kevin Swiryn turned over possession in a New Zealand breakdown around the 10 following the opening kickoff, setting into motion an attack that eventually drew a penalty at the 22. Holder was stopped just short of the try line, but Swiryn was there to take the ball from the breakdown for the try.

Niua lost the ball forward after Perry Baker grabbed the restart out of the air and bounced off of multiple defenders. Baker lost his footing after the Eagles stole the set piece to turn over possession at midfield, and New Zealand slowly entered the U.S. half. Max Pearson opened space for Augustine Pulu on the wing and fed his teammate to level the score at 7-7.

The Eagles were gifted possession when Beaduine Waaka's restart found touch, and they kept it through several phases at both ends of the pitch. Zack Test fed Thretton Palamo on the wing at midfield and the London Welsh professional cut inside at the 22 to offload to Niua. Test took a man into contact and laid it off for Holder, who spectacularly dove to dot the ball on the line under the uprights. Madison Hughes converted the try for a 14-7 halftime lead.

Carlin Isles replaced Baker for the second half and wreaked havoc on New Zealand on both sides of the ball. He pressured Pearson into touch as the Kiwi chased a loose pass towards the touch line in the ninth minute, kept possession in an intelligent play to recycle possession, and finished off the attack by taking the ball from a ruck outside the 22. Isles had to dive to get it there, but dotted the ball down on the line, nonetheless. As he did in pool play in Dubai, Hughes converted from the touch line for a 21-7 lead.

Holder won the restart for the Eagles and got the ball back from Unufe near the 10 before beating two defenders into the try zone for a 28-7 score. Ambrose Curtis scored a consolation try for New Zealand just before the hooter sounded inside Cape Town Stadium to bring the final score to 28-14.

Fiji won the opening round of the 2015-16 season in Dubai last weekend but lost out on another Cup Final trip with a defeat to France in its Cup Quarterfinal Sunday. The Eagles will meet the 2014-15 Series Champion in the Plate Final at 11:33 a.m. ET.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. New Zealand

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

New Zealand | v. USA

1. Teddy Stanaway

2. Ambrose Curtis

3. Antonio Kiri Kiri

4. DJ Forbes

5. Dylan Collier

6. Augustine Pulu

7. Sam Dickson

8. Beaduine Waaka

9. Isaac Te Tamaki

10. Declan O'Donnell

11. Joe Webber

12. Max Pearson

Men's Eagles Sevens | 28

Tries: Swiryn, Holder (2), Isles

Conversions: Hughes (4)

New Zealand | 14

Tries: Pulu, Curtis

Conversions: Waaka (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Cape Town Sevens

v. Wales - W 26-19

v. Portugal - W 52-7

v. Australia - L 26-21

Cup QF v. Kenya - L 26-10

Plate SF v. New Zealand - W 28-14

Plate Final v. Fiji - Sunday, Dec. 13 - 11:33 a.m. ET