Eagles held by Canada, advance to London Cup Quarterfinals

LONDON - The Men's Eagles Sevens' 12-12 draw with Canada at HSBC London Sevens Saturday sends the U.S. into Sunday's Cup Quarterfinals while simultaneously banishing the border rival to the lower-tier Bowl competition.

Mike Friday's squad is still in the running to defend the Cup won at Twickenham Stadium a year ago, just a few weeks before the U.S. qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games. New Zealand also drew its final match of Pool D with Argentina, and will match up with the Eagles in tomorrow's Cup Quarterfinal at 6:42 a.m. ET.

As both teams had a win and a loss through two matches in Pool A, the Eagles' superior point differential meant a win or draw would suffice to reach their eighth Cup Quarterfinal of the 10-stop Series. Martin Iosefo was involved in multiple turnovers in the opening minutes, losing the ball forward in the attacking half before winning it back in a breakdown in the defensive half a minute later.

Determined and patient, the Eagles' attack went forward and backward in the fourth minute. Confidently swinging the ball between the touch lines, the move found Baker inside Canada's half, where he cut back and slipped a nifty pass between defenders to captain Madison Hughes. Hughes took a defender with him before offloading to Baker in support, and the wing beat two tacklers to get the ball down over the try line for a 5-0 lead.

Hughes tried to set up his winger again in the sixth minute with a grubber kick towards the corner of the field. Baker was on his horse to get there, but did not beat the Canadian full back. He, Garrett Bender, and Zack Test did manage to win a penalty in the tackle, however, giving the Eagles a tap in advantageous territory.

The attack came to nothing as possession was lost forward, and a penalty against the Eagles at the stroke of halftime allowed Harry Jones to get through the defensive line around midfield. Baker and Test each had a hand in taking Jones to the ground, but successive turnovers kept Canada in possession. A quick recycle found Conor Trainor with an overlap out wide for Canada's first try of the match, converted by Jones for a 7-5 score line at halftime.

Canada was close to doubling the advantage in the first minute of the second half after a strange bounce of the ball found John Moonlight with U.S. defenders on the ground near midfield. He was able to reach the try zone through a Test tackle, but Iosefo held up the Canadian in-goal to thwart the try.

Niua ended Canada's next attack from the five-meter scrum by winning a penalty in the breakdown in front of the posts. Test caught Niua's lineout throw still inside the Eagles' half and gave it back to get the ball moving to Baker on the other touch line. The wing split defenders at the gain line and made two more miss as he ran 60 meters for the go-ahead, 12-7, try.

The bounce of the ball can be cruel in the game of sevens, and it happened just that way for the Eagles in the 11th minute as it came out of a breakdown at midfield. Matt Mullins scooped it up and ran to the try line untouched to level the match at 12-12.

Substitutes Thretton Palamo and Ben Pinkleman were instrumental in the play of the Eagles as they saw out the result in the final minutes, providing solid forward runs with tight grips on the ball. One penalty against Canada helped kill off a bit of time, and the Eagles moved the ball through hands until it was kicked out when time expired.

The draw means the Eagles finish second in Pool A, and will face New Zealand in the Cup Quarterfinals at 6:42 a.m. ET. The live stream for London Sevens can be found on World Rugby's website, while live match updates of the Eagles' Quarterfinal will be provided by USA Rugby's Twitter account.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Canada
1. Ben Leatigaga
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

Canada | v. USA
1. Sean White
2. Admir Cejvanovic
3. Mike Fuailefau
4. John Moonlight
5. Conor Trainor
6. Phil Berna
7. Phil Mack
8. Justin Douglas
9. Lucas Hammond
10. Matt Mullins
11. Harry Jones
12. Adam Zaruba

Men's Eagles Sevens | 12
Tries: Baker (2)
Conversions: Hughes

Canada | 12
Tries: Trainor, Mullins
Conversions: Jones

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC London Sevens
v. Samoa - W 12-5
v. South Africa - L 14-10
v. Canada - D 12-12
Cup QF v. New Zealand - Sunday, May 22 @ 6:42 a.m. ET