MATCH REPORT

Paris hosts send Eagles to Bowl round

PARIS - HSBC Paris Sevens host France went top of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series' ninth round's Pool D Saturday with a 24-12 defeat of the Men's Eagles Sevens.

The U.S.'s all-time leading try-scorer and season-leading try-scorer each dotted down for Mike Friday's squad following a scoreless encounter with Argentina in the tournament's opening round of matches Friday. Two losses drops the Eagles down to the Bowl round on knockout Sunday, though they will be able to control their own seeding with a final pool match against Canada at 9:09 a.m. ET Saturday.

The Eagles started the second match much better than the first with more impetus on the defensive side of things. Garrett Bender made sure the Eagles would get the ball before falling behind on the scoreboard with a well-timed tackle at the defensive 10 to knock the ball out of French hands. From the ensuing put-in, the U.S. found Perry Baker out wide, and the wing had enough pace and room to outlast Virimi Vakatawa for the match's first try.

Bender replicated his turnover-inducing hit with a forceful tackle near midfield, but France kept hold of possession. The attack quickly moved laterally, and Steeve Barry beat a defender to offload to Stephen Parez at the 22 for the equalizer at 7-7.

Baker nearly intercepted a France pass deep in his own half in the fifth minute, and the Eagles were awarded a scrum as France scrambled to win the ball back. Baker and Zack Test were each denied room along the touch line behind the 22, and captain Madison Hughes was forced to kick for territory. The kick was higher than it was long, however, and Terry Bouhraoua caught it at the 22 and Manoel Dall Igna had plenty of space out wide to score.

France was given an immediate opportunity to extend the 12-7 lead on the restart when the referee awarded a penalty advantage against Test. The tournament host kept the attack going rather than wait for a whistle, and Parez doubled his tally to send the teams into the break at 19-7.

Baker had room to run and the jets to make a second try happen in the second half's first minute, but attempted to offload to a streaking Maka Unufe at the 22 instead. The pass was a bit behind Unufe, and went forward for a French scrum. A deep kick tested Test in the defensive half, with the Eagle supported by teammates to calmly keep possession and draw a penalty.

Two more penalties in the 10th-minute attack assisted in the Eagles' run to France's half of the field, but a whistle against Unufe around the French 10 provided a quick-tap attacking platform for the pacey Blues. Vakatawa used his strength and reach to take on two defenders at midfield before a behind-the-back offload in contact set Bouhraoua free to score a 50-meter try.

Test dotted down the Eagles' consolation try in the 13th minute to better the point differential in the standings after the U.S.'s most clinical attack of the day thus far, but it did not change the overall result of the match at 24-12.

The Eagles can finish third in Pool D with a win or draw against Canada in their final match of pool play Saturday at 9:09 a.m. ET. Friday's side has both beaten and drawn the rival this season after a successful Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games qualification campaign at the expense of the Canadians. Paris Sevens is being streamed live online to viewers in the United States on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. France
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

France | v. USA
1. Jonathan Laugel
2. Manoel Dall Igna
3. Jean Baptiste Mazoue
4. Terry Bouhraoua
5. Stephen Parez
6. Steeve Barry
7. Virimi Vakatawa
8. Pierre Gilles Lakafia
9. Jeremy Aicardi
10. Julien Candelon
11. Sacha Valleau
12. Damien Cler

Men's Eagles Sevens | 12
Tries: Baker, Test
Conversions: Hughes

France | 24
Tries: Parez (2), Dall Igna, Bouhraoua
Conversions: Bouhraoua (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Paris Sevens
v. Argentina - L 36-0
v. France - L 24-12
v. Canada - Saturday, May 14 @ 9:09 a.m. ET