Eagles light up Wales, Allianz Stadium in Sydney opener

SYDNEY, Australia - Ben Pinkelman scored his first career HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series try Saturday at HSBC Sydney Sevens in the Men's Eagles Sevens' punishing, 42-0, shutout of Wales.

Five separate Americans accounted for six tries in the victory, including three combined from speedsters Perry Baker and Carlin Isles. The U.S. leads Pool D in the fourth leg of the 2015-16 Series after the first round of matches, and will continue its campaign at Allianz Stadium against Japan at 12:48 a.m. ET.

Though Wales enjoyed the first spell of possession in the match, Folau Niua began and ended the play. The Eagle kicked off the match, and received the ball following Danny Barrett's clinical work on the defensive side of a midfield ruck. With a smooth dummy, Niua tricked his opposite number into leaving a gap in the defense before running, untouched, 60 meters to the uprights. Captain Madison Hughes converted for the early, 7-0, advantage.

Wales could not find a way past the Eagles' 22, and resorted to a kicking game, hoping to take advantage of the space behind Hughes at sweeper. In the third minute, Hughes chased a chip and drew a penalty, which allowed Niua to push the Eagles' attack forward with a lineout at the 10.

Following a back-and-forth kicking session between the two teams, which nearly saw Isles free behind the Welsh sweeper, the Eagles regained possession via a penalty against Wales at its 10. Wales was able to jump up on Isles in the middle of the pitch to force a lose ball and turnover, but a knock kept the men in red from advancing any further. Isles hit straight back with a counter of his own, but with ball in hand, scoring seconds after the set piece from his own 22.

The try and subsequent conversion gave the U.S. a 14-0 lead at the half, and Baker, who replaced his counterpart during the break, finished off a brilliant team move in the first minute of the second frame. Martin Iosefo, back from injury to restore the midfield component of the U.S. attack, broke the defensive line in the eighth minute and fed Barrett, who found an in-stride Baker for the 21-0 lead.

Baker helped set up the Eagles' fourth try after trying his luck along the touch line. He was able to keep play alive on his way into touch between Wales' 10 and 22, and Thretton Palamo broke a tackle and used Niua as a dummy to trot to the try zone.

Up, 28-0, in the 12th minute, the Eagles kept up the work rate and pressure on defense to get the ball from their opponent, with Zack Test doing the honors in the breakdown. Pinkelman shrugged off a tackler and beat another attempted stop to race away to the try line, diving over for the first time in his career. The Colorado State University Ram's first try, along with Hughes' fifth conversion of the match, extended the lead to 35-0.

Pinkelman set up Baker's second try of the match by drawing two defenders to him before feeding his wing, who spun out of his own tackle, for the 42-0 score line. Though the conversion was taken in the final minute, there was time for a kickoff, and an offside call against Palamo allowed Wales to begin its attack from midfield. Nate Augspurger chased down a Welsh defender that had broken the defensive line to force a loose ball, and Wales knocked on along the try line to end the match at 42-0.

England defeated Japan in the first Pool D match in Sydney by a margin of 21 points, putting the Eagles atop the bracket. Mike Friday's side will recommence pool play at 12:48 a.m. ET, with the live broadcast of its match against Japan streamed on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Wales

1. Carlin Isles

2. Matai Leuta

3. Danny Barrett

4. Ben Pinkelman

5. Zack Test

6. Martin Iosefo

7. Folau Niua

8. Thretton Palamo

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes

11. Perry Baker

12. Will Holder

Wales | v. USA

1. Luke Treharne

2. Ethan Davies

3. Lloyd Lewis

4. Luke Morgan

5. Owen Jenkins

6. Tom Isaacs

7. Jordan Williams

8. Luke Crocker

9. Kristian Phillips

10. Sam Cross

11. Lloyd Evans

12. Ben Roach

Men's Eagles Sevens | 42

Tries: Niua, Isles, Baker (2), Palamo, Pinkelman

Conversions: Hughes (6)

Wales | 0

Tries: N/A

Conversions: N/A

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Sydney Sevens

v. Wales - W 42-0

v. Japan - Saturday, Feb. 6 @ 12:48 a.m. ET

v. England - Saturday, Feb. 6 @ 4:19 a.m. ET