Men's Sevens
12 0
New Zealand
19 19
Men's Sevens  @ The National Stadium
Singapore Sevens


SINGAPORE - New Zealand ended a nine-tournament Cup streak for the Men's Eagles Sevens Saturday with a 19-12 Pool B victory at HSBC Singapore Sevens.

The U.S. again left it late with a second-half deficit nearly being overturned in the final minutes, but Mike Friday's squad will compete for the Bowl in the eighth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Eagles will face Russia at 11:36 p.m. ET Saturday in the Bowl Quarterfinals.

An early penalty to Garrett Bender allowed New Zealand to set up a tap for the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens runner-up around midfield, from which Regan Ware tested the Eagles' defensive discipline. He ran a line between Maka Unufe and Perry Baker towards the wing, and got to the try line before Unufe attempted to drag him by the jersey. The Kiwi dotted the ball down successfully for a 5-0 lead.

The Eagles breathed a sigh of relief when New Zealand knocked the ensuing restart, but a turnover forced by Liam Messam saw the Kiwis quickly offload to Dylan Collier for the match's second try and 12-0 score line. New Zealand then made it a 19-0 halftime score in the sixth minute when Ware drew a penalty in his team's attacking half. Kurt Baker went over the line by supporting the play from the tap.

The U.S., needing a win or draw to qualify as the second seed from the tournament's Pool B, did well to force the agenda as New Zealand began to waste time off of the clock in the second half. Bender put himself in the dirty areas to win turnover ball in the eighth minute and the Eagles benefitted from a bounce when Gillies Kaka chased his own chip kick with the ball ending up behind the in-goal area.

Perry Baker looked to hit the gain line with pace from behind his own 22 in the 10th minute, and took contact while offloading to Unufe. The Utah-born Eagle proved he, too, had pace to burn, and burned four defenders for 80 meters to put the Eagles on the scoreboard at 19-7.

It did not happen often in the match, but the Eagles kept possession from the 11th-minute restart to build an attack in New Zealand's half. The attack sputtered trying to go from one touch line to the other and back again, so Perry Baker placed a well-weighted grubber past a defender on the wing. He beat everyone to the ball at the try line, but his momentum carried him over the end line before he could get the ball to the ground, keeping the Eagles two scores behind.

Niua faced a similar situation as his teammate in the 13th minute, staring into the faces of the New Zealand defenders near the attacking 10. Not seeing a gap, Niua sent a kick over the defensive line for Zack Test to chase, and the U.S.'s all-time leading try-scorer extended his record with a try to make the score 19-12.

New Zealand was able to get possession from the restart to bring about the full-time whistle, keeping its own record of never competing for the Bowl on the Series intact.

The Eagles can still gain eight points towards the Series standings should they win out on day two at Singapore Sevens. The first match of the day - the Bowl Quarterfinal against Russia - will be broadcast live on World Rugby's website from 11:36 p.m. ET.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. New Zealand

1. Nate Ebner

2. Pat Blair

3. Danny Barrett

4. Garrett Bender

5. Zack Test

6. Peter Tiberio

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Martin Iosefo

New Zealand | v. USA

1. Teddy Stanaway

2. Antonio Kiri Kiri

3. Regan Ware

4. Josh Van Lieshout

5. Dylan Collier

6. Liam Messam

7. Isaac Te Aute

8. Gillies Kaka

9. Sione Molia

10. Isaac Te Tamaki

11. Kurt Baker

12. Sonny Bill Williams

Men's Eagles Sevens | 12

Tries: Unufe, Test

Conversions: Hughes

New Zealand | 19

Tries: Ware, Collier, Baker

Conversions: Kaka (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Singapore Sevens

v. Canada - W 36-14

v. France - L 19-17

v. New Zealand - L 19-12

Bowl QF v. Russia - Saturday, April 16 @ 11:36 p.m. ET