U.S. handles Wales, books Plate Final ticket in Canada

VANCOUVER - The Men's Eagles Sevens seemed no worse for wear from a bruising encounter with Fiji Sunday to defeat Wales, 38-12, in the HSBC Canada Sevens Plate Semifinals.

Mike Friday's squad had succumbed to an extra-time defeat to the leader of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the weekend's Cup Quarterfinal stage, but looked the fresher group in the matchup with Wales. Martin Iosefo added another try to his potential Dream Team credentials, while Perry Baker improved to eight tries on the weekend to lead the tournament table. The U.S. will play Samoa in the Plate Final at BC Place Stadium at 4:58 p.m. PT.

Wales appeared to open the scoring in the first minute of the match with Adam Thomas offloading through a Madison Hughes tackle to Sam Cross. Ben Pinkelman attempted to make the tackle in the try zone, but it was unnecessary as the pass was called forward. Iosefo made a run up the middle of the pitch after the Eagles won the scrum, turning the sweeper around before passing him and welcoming contact, in which he popped the ball to Danny Barrett. A few strides later Barrett passed off to Baker for the opening try and 7-0 lead.

Baker forced a turnover on the ensuing restart with a tackle and support in the ruck to feed Folau Niua for a 12-0 lead, and added his double with an individual effort on the wing in the seventh minute of play. The speedster turned around, looking to recycle the ball through hands, then dummied the pass to wrong-foot the defenders and score.

The Eagles searched for another try before the half ended and got it through Iosefo, whose run from midfield was coupled with Niua's chip over the top of the Welsh defense. Iosefo's fourth try of the tournament brought the U.S.'s halftime lead to 26-0.

Iosefo assisted his captain's second-half try with a superb behind-the-back offload to Hughes in the ninth minute, which padded the score line at 31-0. Mass substitutions poured on the pitch for Friday's team with Wales offering just two replacements from the bench, but Wales crossed over twice before the final whistle. Jordan Williams offloaded in front of the try line prior to contact to set up Lloyd Evans' 12th-minute try and scored one for himself in the final minute before Nate Augspurger capped off the match with an 80-plus-meter try from a set piece, bringing the final score to 38-12.

The Eagles have won their only meeting with Samoa this season, a 24-20 decision in pool play at HSBC Wellington Sevens. The winner of the Plate Final, which is scheduled to kick off at 4:58 p.m. PT, will earn 13 points in the Series standings. Canada Sevens is broadcast live on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Wales

1. Thretton Palamo

2. Ben Pinkelman

3. Danny Barrett

4. Garrett Bender

5. Ben Leatigaga

6. Pat Blair

7. Folau Niua

8. Seth Halliman

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Martin Iosefo

Wales | v. USA

1. Luke Treharne

2. Ethan Davies

3. Chris Knight

4. Luke Morgan

5. Owen Jenkins

6. Tom Isaacs

7. Jordan Williams

8. Lloyd Evans

9. Kristian Phillips

10. Sam Cross

11. Adam Thomas

12. Ben Roach

Men's Eagles Sevens | 38

Tries: Baker (2), Niua, Iosefo, Hughes, Augspurger

Conversions: Hughes (3), Augspurger

Wales | 12

Tries: Evans, Williams

Conversions: Treharne

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Canada Sevens

v. France - W 42-14

v. England - W 17-12

v. New Zealand - L 17-5

Cup QF v. Fiji - L 31-26

Plate SF v. Wales - W 38-12

Plate Final v. Samoa - Sunday, March 13 @ 4:58 p.m. PT