USA Eagles
10 10
Australia
19 12
Women's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
December 1, 20167:43 pm 
Dubai Sevens
FloRugby

Eagles drop to new Challenge Trophy bracket in Dubai

 Michael Lee / KLC fotos

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The Women's Eagles Sevens gave Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games gold medalist Australia its toughest test of pool play at Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, but left the field of play Thursday with a 19-10 defeat on the record.

Richie Walker's team will hope to gain all of the points now available from the first round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in the Challenge Trophy bracket. The Eagles will face Ireland in Friday's Semifinal at 3:14 a.m. ET, with the broadcast available on The Rugby Channel.

The U.S. narrowly escaped their first Pool A matchup with a win but were given a lesson in Rugby Sevens by South Africa before they faced Australia in a must-win match for Cup qualification. It did not start well, as Nicole Heavirland's opening restart was taken straight past the defense by Emilee Cherry for a 5-0 lead after just 30 seconds.

The Eagles settled things down once they got their hands on the ball from the next restart, and used a stoppage for an infringement against Australia to attack with a set play. Ryan Carlyle burst through the defense on her side of midfield and beat all but one defender to the try line, where she was tackled. Support rushed in and Carlyle took the ball from the next breakdown over the line - her first career Series try - to level the scores at 5-5.

The teams were given a lengthy rest period as Australia's Tiana Penitani was stretchered off of the field. Once play resumed, Australia won a tap at midfield from the U.S.'s restart infraction and survived one turnover to regain possession and work its way down the field. Ten meters from the try line, Emma Sykes faked a pass to the wing and used a cluster of players in front of her to dot down over the line.

Kelter won the ensuing restart for the Eagles and captain Lauren Doyle took the ball from the midfield breakdown all the way to the in-goal area to bring the half-time score to a respectable 12-10.

The first few minutes of the second half were spent with the Eagles in control of possession, but Australia kept them from getting out of their own 22 with quick line speed and potent first-up tackles. They were tackled in-goal twice in quick succession, though Kelter kept Australia from crossing the line each time by pressuring her opposite number in the five-meter scrums.

Mahalia Murphy scored a 12th-minute try in the corner as the Eagles searched for more late-match magic, bringing the final score to 19-10.

As much as the Eagles will be disappointed in not reaching the Cup round in the first tournament of the new season, they will start anew with a two-game slate Friday. The U.S. kicks off the Challenge Trophy Semifinals at 3:14 a.m. ET against Ireland, which lost two matches and drew one in pool play Thursday. Dubai Sevens can be viewed live in the United States on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v. Australia

1. Cheta Emba

2. Ryan Carlyle

3. Kate Zackary

4. Alev Kelter

5. Nicole Heavirland

6. Lauren Doyle

7. Naya Tapper

8. Joanne Fa'avesi

9. Nicole Strasko

10. Kayla Canett

11. Kristine Sommer

12. Bulou Mataitoga

Australia | v. USA

1. Shannon Parry

2. Sharni Williams

3. Tiana Penitani

4. Mahalia Murphy

5. Emma Tonegato

6. Georgina Friedricks

7. Charlotte Caslick

8. Chloe Dalton

9. Brooke Anderson

10. Alicia Quirk

11. Emilee Cherry

12. Emma Sykes

Women's Eagles Sevens | 10

Tries: Carlyle, Doyle

Conversions: N/A

Australia | 19

Tries: Cherry, Sykes, Penitani

Conversions: Sykes, Dalton

Women's Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens

v. Russia - W 12-10

v. South Africa - L 26-7

v. Australia - L 19-10

Challenge Trophy SF v. Ireland - Friday, Dec. 2 @ 3:14 a.m. ET