Aggressive Argentina keeps Eagles scoreless in France

PARIS - The Men's Eagles Sevens conceded six tries in their first match at HSBC Paris Sevens Friday, a 36-0 shutout dealt by Argentina.

Following the team's first winless pool campaign in the eighth round of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Eagles looked to open their account in France on a high note. It was numerous turnovers and spilled possession that highlighted the U.S. play at Stade Jean-Bouin rather than the high-flying rugby for which Mike Friday's team has been praised, however, sending the Eagles to the bottom of Pool D. They can better their pool standing on day two of the penultimate leg of the Series in their next match against host France Saturday, May 14, at 4:20 a.m. ET.

Wearing their alternative blue kit to counter Argentina's blue and white stripes, the Eagles began the match with the restart, which was lost forward by Ben Pinkelman. Argentina won its set piece and sent the ball to the wing, where Franco Sabato kept Martin Iosefo at bay with a fend to score from 50 meters.

The Eagles were within 10 meters of leveling the match at 7-7 after Pinkelman won the ensuing restart and captain Madison Hughes found a big defensive gap to get to midfield. Folau Niua sent Perry Baker on a 30-meter chase with a grubber kick into space, and the wing did well to gather the bobbling ball in stride. Rather than continue his straight-forward run to the try zone, however, Baker cut inside the center, losing his balance and his momentum to succumb to a follow-up tackle.

Watch HSBC Paris Sevens LIVE >>

Argentina escaped the scoring threat and cleared the danger with a kick, and used a defensive chase to keep the dangerous Eagle runners from capitalizing on a fast break. The U.S. was able to get to midfield, but a dropped ball from Garrett Bender led to Argentina reclaiming possession. The Eagles held up the attack 10 meters out, but the patient Argentinians methodically created the space for Rodrigo Etchart to score his first try of the match.

Baker's run was the only attacking opportunity the Eagles had in the offensive third of the field until the final minutes of the match. The sixth-minute possession from a restart began with a lineout at the U.S. 22, and Iosefo turned over the ball with an offload to Fernando Luna, who had Etchart in support for a 17-0 score line.

The score remained 17-0 at the break despite both teams having possession in the final seconds, but Argentina quickly pounced on another U.S. mistake to extend the lead. Maka Unufe withstood a mid-air tackle as he went up for the second-half restart, but the "free" possession was given to Argentina when Baker threw a forward pass at the attacking 10. Luna sent the ball down the field with a kick as play continued, and Axel Muller sent it a bit further with his boot before collecting in-goal for a 22-0 score.

The additions of Nate Augspurger, Nate Ebner, and Zack Test improved the second-half performance, but did not result in any tries for the U.S. in what is expected to be a tough pool from which to qualify for the Cup Quarterfinals. Rugby World Cup 2015 standout Santiago Cordero made more of an impact for his team, and played a role in the build-up to Javier Rojas' 11th-minute try. Another World Cup veteran, Matias Moroni, was the last to cross the try line with a 13th-minute dot down for the 36-0 final.

The Eagles will need to get back to winning ways against France in their next Pool D encounter if they are to reach their eighth Cup Quarterfinals of the season. That match is scheduled to kick off at 4:20 a.m. ET Saturday, with the live broadcast available on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Argentina
1. Nate Ebner
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Thretton Palamo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

Argentina | v. USA
1. Fernando Luna
2. Santiago Alvarez
3. German Schulz
4. Juan Pablo Estelles
5. Axel Muller
6. Matias Moroni
7. Javier Rojas
8. Gaston Revol
9. Rodrigo Etchart
10. Bautista Ezcurra
11. Santiago Cordero
12. Franco Sabato

Men's Eagles Sevens | 0
Tries: N/A
Conversions: N/A

Argentina | 36
Tries: Sabato, Etchart (2), Muller, Rojas, Moroni
Conversions: Revol (2), Rojas

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Paris Sevens
v. Argentina - L 36-0
v. France - Saturday, May 14 @ 6:20 a.m. ET
v. Canada - Saturday, May 14 @ 9:09 a.m. ET