Eagles fell France for Vancouver Quarterfinal berth

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The HSBC Canada Sevens Cup Quarterfinals await the Men's Eagles Sevens following a 31-19 defeat of France at BC Place Stadium Saturday.

The Pool C victory is the second in as many matches for the Eagles, who have scored 13 tries with one game remaining. Head Coach Mike Friday's squad will square off with Australia to determine Sunday's knockout matchups. The 8:08 p.m. ET kickoff will be broadcast live on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.


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Captain Madison Hughes converted half of his side's eight tries in a shutout of Japan earlier in the day, and kick-started the scoring against France in the first minute. Folau Niua won possession from the restart and Danny Barrett, who had scored the 50th try of his career against Japan, beat a defender to free space for Hughes. The try-scorer strode away from his opposite number across 70 meters and converted the score for a 7-0 lead.

https://twitter.com/WorldRugby7s/status/840680779009019904

Barrett disrupted the second-minute restart and gave the Eagles possession with a lineout steal. Steady with ball in hand, the U.S. advanced past the 22. Niua tried to force the issue with an offload in contact only for it to be tipped backwards by France. Stephen Tomasin was first to the loose ball, however, and Ben Pinkelman found Martin Iosefo from the ground for a 12-0 advantage.

Julien Candelon nearly found the score sheet in the fifth minute from France's first real possession, backing himself to beat Barrett to the corner of the try zone. The Eagle had enough pace, and pushed Candelon into touch. The Eagles were awarded a put-in as Candelon had lost the ball forward beforehand, and a miscommunication between Hughes and Niua in the try zone resulted in a gifted score to Alexandre Lagarde.

Hughes ensured a second consecutive try would not come prior to the halftime whistle with a penalty win in the breakdown, and Iosefo fended Terry Bouhraoua at the 10 for a 19-7 lead at the break.

A misplaced restart kick allowed France a free platform to attack at midfield, and Bouhraoua brought France within a converted try at 19-12 with five minutes remaining in the clash. Like he did in Las Vegas a week ago, Maka Unufe provided a spark as a second-half substitute to create a 10th-minute try. His run opened space for Perry Baker, who ducked out of a tackle by Lagarde and outraced Bastien Berenguel for a 26-12 score line.

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Niua, ranked in the top three in World Rugby's Performance Tracker for the tournament heading into the matchup, fought off a defender near midfield to reach the 22. He turned from the touch line to find support, which came in the form of Andrew Durutalo for a 31-12 lead. France used the last possession to ruin the 19-point margin of victory, benefitting from U.S. penalties to score through Jean Pascal Barraque, 31-19.


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With Australia also 2-0 through two matches at Canada Sevens, both undefeated teams advance to the Cup Quarterfinals. Who they play will be determined by the seeding from Pools B and C, with Argentina and Fiji leading Pool B. The Pool C decider between the Eagles and Australia will kick off at 8:08 p.m. ET. The live web stream can be viewed on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. France
1. Pat Blair
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Danny Barrett
4. Matai Leuta
5. Walt Elder
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Malon Al-Jiboori

France | v. USA
1. Jonathan Laugel
2. Kelegh Moutome
3. Jean Baptiste Mazoue
4. Terry Bouhraoua
5. Josias Daoudou
6. Jean Pascal Barraque
7. Bastien Berenguel
8. Jean-Teiva Jacquelin
9. Jeremy Aicardi
10. Julien Candelon
11. Sacha Valleau
12. Alexandre Lagarde
13. Stephen Parez

Men's Eagles Sevens | 31
Tries: Hughes, Iosefo (2), Baker, Durutalo
Conversions: Hughes (3)

France | 19
Tries: Lagarde, Barraque, Bouhraoua
Conversions: Bouhraoua (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Canada Sevens
v. Japan - W 52-0
v. France - W 31-19
v. Australia - Saturday, March 11 @ 8:08 p.m. ET