Final eludes Eagles in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - The USA Women's Eagles Sevens kept New Zealand to its lowest scoring output of HSBC USA Sevens thus far in a 12-7 Cup Semifinal loss Saturday.

Richie Walker's squad was hoping to follow a Cup Final appearance at HSBC Sydney7s with a repeat performance at home, but will compete for the bronze medal at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday night at 8:40 p.m. ET. Canada, gold medalist in Australia last month, will again be the U.S.'s final opponent in the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series' third round. The tournament, culminating with the Cup Final between Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games gold medalist Australia and New Zealand, can be viewed live on The Rugby Channel.

The Eagles had defeated New Zealand in the Sydney Cup Semifinals in a similarly-low-scoring affair, and kicked off the knockout game in Las Vegas with a turnover try from Kristen Thomas two minutes into the match. Captain Alev Kelter stopped Portia Woodman from scoring a minute later, though the Eagles conceded a try as Michaela Blyde beat Naya Tapper one-on-one in front of the try line and dotted down through a Kate Zackary tackle.

Initially losing Nicole Heavirland to an injury on the scoring play, the Eagles watched Blyde chase a kick to the corner in the final minute of the half only to have the television match official confirm the Series' top try- and points-scorer did not ground the ball in-goal. Heavirland would come back on the field after spending several minutes receiving medical attention.

In the first minute of the second half Niall Williams gave New Zealand its 12-7 lead, and the Black Ferns held off a stern Eagles attack to see out the victory.

The Eagles will play for a bronze medal against border rival Canada in a reverse fixture list from the second round of the Series. The match will kick off at 8:40 p.m. ET with the live broadcast available on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v. New Zealand
1. Samantha Pankey
2. Kelly Griffin
3. Kate Zackary
4. Nicole Heavirland
5. Ryan Carlyle
6. Alev Kelter (C)
7. Naya Tapper
8. Kelsi Stockert
9. Joanne Fa'avesi
10. Bulou Mataitoga
11. Kristen Thomas
12. Nicole Snyder

Women's Eagles Sevens | 7
Tries: Thomas
Conversions: Heavirland

New Zealand | 12
Tries: Blyde, Williams
Conversions: Nathan-Wong

Women's Eagles Sevens | HSBC USA Sevens
v. Ireland - L 24-21
v. Spain - W 24-7
v. Fiji - W 14-7
Cup QF v. Ireland - W 20-12
Cup SF v. New Zealand - L 12-7
Bronze Medal Match v. Canada - Saturday, March 4 @ 8:40 p.m. ET