USA Eagles
28 21
Samoa
14 7
Men's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
December 3, 20166:19 pm 
Dubai Sevens
Challenge Trophy Final

Eagles finish Dubai Day Two undefeated, win Challenge Trophy

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Men’s Eagles Sevens won their third consecutive match of Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, 28-14, in a Challenge Trophy Final defeat of Samoa Saturday.

The U.S. takes eight points from the first leg of the 10-round HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, finishing ninth after a 1-2 Day One. The team’s pool opponents and pool play schedule for HSBC Cape Town Sevens, Dec. 10-11, will be released by World Rugby following the conclusion of Saturday’s festivities.

Madison Hughes was a big reason the Eagles emerged victorious from a tough Semifinal clash with Kenya, and helped to open the scoring in the first minute of the Final. Folau Niua popped a switch pass to a hard-charging Hughes and the captain took it through the gain line before Alatasi Tupou jumped on his back to make the tackle. The tackle was deemed high by the match official five meters from the line, and Andrew Durutalo supported Martin Iosefo on the quick tap for the 7-0 advantage.

Samoa did not wait long to get back on level terms after Perry Baker mishandled the restart kick. Siaosi Asofolau fended one Eagle defender in the middle of the field and fed an onrushing Lafaele Vaa for the 7-7 score line.

Baker has been one of the highest-rated players in Dubai this weekend and climbed one spot further in the try-scoring charts in the fifth minute with a well-executed chip kick. The speedster sent the ball over the defense from his own half and ran under to catch it before it hit the ground, dusting everyone to make it 14-7.

The Eagles had endured a frustrating path to their sixth game of the weekend but played with some of their best continuity in the Final. Iosefo kicked off a swift attack at midfield in the sith minute with a weaving run and Matai Leuta capped it off with a direct run to the posts for a 21-7 halftime score.

Stephen Tomasin finished one of the best try-scoring moves of the weekend in the 12th minute to put the game out of Samoa’s reach. Don Pati broke the gain line at his own 22 and ran to the other 22 before circling the ball back to Durutalo, who found Baker in support. The winger sent an inside ball back to Pati, and Durutalo spun a tackler around to give the final ball to Tomasin.

Each of the 14 players on the field had given their all and had had enough by the time the final whistle had sounded, with Alefosio Tapili scoring in the corner on the final play of the Final, 28-14.

The Eagles will sit in ninth plays in the Series standings after the first tournament of the year, and win the first Challenge Trophy since World Rugby altered the naming system of the Series brackets. HSBC Cape Town Sevens kicks off in South Africa Saturday, Dec. 10.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Samoa
1. Kevon Williams
2. Matai Leuta
3. Danny Barrett
4. Alec Gletzer
5. Don Pati
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Anthony Welmers

Samoa | v. USA
1. Lio Lolo
2. Gordon Langkilde
3. Francis Ieremia
4. Lafaele Vaa
5. Alefosio Tapili
6. Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa
7. Lester Sefo
8. Alatasi Tupou
9. Tila Mealoi
10. Samoa Toloa
11. Ed Fidow
12. Siaosi Asofolau
13. Alamanda Motuga

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 28
Tries: Durutalo, Baker, Leuta, Tomasin
Conversions: Hughes (4)

Samoa | 14
Tries: Vaa, Tapili
Conversions: Mealoi (2)

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens
v. Scotland – L 14-5
v. Uganda – W 29-7
v. South Africa – L 19-17
Challenge Trophy QF v. Russia – W 40-5
Challenge Trophy SF v. Kenya – W 21-19
Challenge Trophy Final v. Samoa – W 28-14