Wellington yields five points for Eagles

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Kenya brought the Men's Eagles Sevens' HSBC Wellington Sevens campaign to an end Saturday in the Challenge Trophy Semifinal, 19-12.

Perry Baker scored his third try of the third round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in the loss, which adds five points towards the U.S.'s season standing. Head Coach Mike Friday's squad will stay in Oceania for next weekend's HSBC Sydney7s, which also features the second round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.

The Eagles defended Kenya's game-opening attack well after initially losing Folau Niua's restart forward, turning over possession 10 meters from their try line in the third minute. Baker could not free himself on the wing and went to the ground in the tackle, but his loose pass was picked up by Daniel Sikuta for a 5-0 lead after three minutes.

With the wind blustering at Westpac Stadium, the Eagles let the Kenyan restart bounce. Stephen Tomasin gathered it calmly and the ball was sent wide to Baker, who tip-toed his way along the touch line past the defenders for a near-full-field try.

The teams entered halftime with a U.S. advantage at 7-5, which lasted until the 11th minute. Despite a probing attack and a turnover won by Tomasin, Kenya regained the lead through Billy Odhiambo's dart past Barrett. The 14th-minute restart found touch five meters from the try line - putting the Eagles in a vulnerable position with the lineout - and Kenya capitalized on a poor lineout throw for Odhiambo to increase the lead to 19-7.

The Eagles were given one last opportunity with the ball as Kenya's final restart traveled directly into touch, and fresh substitute Don Pati spun the defenders around with a straight run at the line. Support followed in waves as the whistle blew several times against Kenya, with referee Craig Joubert showing Collins Injera a yellow card. Hughes finished off the game by taking a tap 10 meters from the line and splitting two defenders on the edge of the in-goal area for a 19-12 final score.

The U.S. will fall below eighth in the Series standings following the Wellington leg, with the draw for Sydney pools to be determined.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Kenya
1. Carlin Isles
2. Matai Leuta
3. Danny Barrett
5. Don Pati
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Connor Wallace-Sims
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Pago Haini

Kenya | v. USA
1. Bush Mwale
2. Oscar Ouma
3. Daniel Sikuta
4. Augustine Lugonzo
5. Billy Odhiambo
6. Samuel Oliech
7. Eden Agero
8. Andrew Amonde
9. Nelson Oyoo
10. Brian Tanga
11. Collins Injera
12. Willy Ambaka
13. Leonard Mugaisi

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

Kenya | 19
Tries: Sikuta, Odhiambo (2)
Conversions: Agero (2)
Discipline: Injera (Yellow)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Wellington Sevens
v. France - D 21-21
v. Samoa - W 24-12
v. New Zealand - L 24-12
Challenge Trophy QF v. Japan - W 19-14
Challenge Trophy SF v. Kenya - L 19-12