Bender, Test influential in Paris Bowl Quarterfinal victory

PARIS - Zack Test scored two tries in the Men's Eagles Sevens' 19-17 defeat of Portugal in the HSBC Paris Sevens Bowl Quarterfinals Sunday.

Maka Unufe also crossed the try line for Mike Friday's crew, which moves on to face Scotland in the Bowl Semifinal Sunday at 7:57 a.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on World Rugby's website.

Following HSBC Singapore Sevens, where the Eagles failed to qualify for the Cup round for the first time this season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the U.S. kicked off against the previous tournament's Semifinal opponent. The match had the perfect start with Unufe the first to Folau Niua's restart, but a looping pass from Garrett Bender was intercepted at midfield.

Bender made up for the indiscretion by winning possession in the breakdown via a penalty as Portugal made its way to the U.S. 22. Test took the quick tap without hesitation and fended a defender to break through the moving defensive line. Aderito Esteves chased Test once inside Portugal's half, but did not have the pace to reach the Eagle before he was able to dot down in-goal. Captain Madison Hughes converted the try for a 7-0 lead after two minutes.

Portugal was able to collect possession from the restart, but Bender once again proved too clinical in the breakdown, winning another penalty. The Eagles took the tap and Niua found Unufe running a line off of his right hip to double the lead at 14-0 three minutes into the Quarterfinal.

Niua's restart again gave the Eagles a chance to retain possession with Bender reaching up for the ball just inside the touch line. He hit the ball backwards but into the awaiting clutches of Duarte Moreira, who put his head down to run to the try line. Perry Baker caught up to the wannabe try-scorer, however, and pulled him into touch five meters from the "finish line."

The Eagles got out of their half by winning the lineout and a successive lineout outside their 10, but Niua was called for losing the ball forward in the breakdown a few phases later. Despite winning the scrum, Unufe lost the ball in a tackle and Moreiro was able to send a kick behind the defense and catch up to it to score. The try brought the score to 14-5 at the break.

Baker lost the second-half restart forward, but Test grabbed the ball from the ensuing scrum inside the U.S. half. He broke Pedro Leal's initial tackle near the set piece before breezing through an ankle tap on his way to the try line for a 19-5 U.S. lead.

Three consecutive penalties against the Eagles during Portugal's attack in the 11th minute led to Nuno Guedes taking a tap and stepping around Hughes before Danny Barrett knocked the ball loose ahead of the try line. The Eagles could not get out of their own end, however, with Bender losing the ball and holding a defender back to keep him from scoring in-goal. The referee deemed Bender had kept Portugal from a scoring play, giving the Eagle a yellow card and Portugal a penalty try. The try was converted to make it 19-12.

With two minutes remaining in the match, Martin Iosefo lost the ball in contact and Guedes sent a cross-field kick to the wing for Esteves. The attacker pushed off Baker's attempted tackle and kept his feet through Barrett's late tackle to bring the score to 19-17.

Portugal could not complete the comeback as Niua was able to kick the ball into touch when the 14 minutes had expired, sending the Eagles to the Semifinals. Scotland handily defeated Brazil in its Quarterfinal to set up the 7:57 a.m. ET date with the Eagles. The match will be streamed live on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Portugal
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

Portugal | v. USA
1. Aderito Esteves
2. Vasco Ribeiro
3. Joao Lino
4. Pedro Leal
5. Carl Murray
6. Nuno Guedes
7. Pedro Silverio
8. Vasco Mendes
9. Joao Belo
10. Tiago Fernandes
11. Tomas Appleton
12. Duarte Moreira

Men's Eagles Sevens | 19
Tries: Test (2), Unufe
Conversions: Hughes (2)
Discipline: Bender (Yellow)

Portugal | 17
Tries: Moreira, Esteves
Conversions: Guedes

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Paris Sevens
v. Argentina - L 36-0
v. France - L 24-12
v. Canada - W 33-12
Bowl QF v. Portugal - W 19-17
Bowl SF v. Scotland - Sunday, May 15 @ 7:57 a.m. ET