Argentina downed once again in Cup Quarterfinal

 Martin Seras Lima

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Men's Eagles Sevens beat Argentina in a second consecutive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup Quarterfinal, 14-12, to advance to the HSBC Canada Sevens Semifinals Sunday.

Perry Baker increased his lead atop the tournament's try-scoring charts with his seventh dot-down on the weekend and Danny Barrett scored his third in four games in the victory. Head Coach Mike Friday's squad will face the same task of challenging Series-leading South Africa for a spot in the Cup Final with the 6:08 p.m. ET Cup Semifinal matchup. The game will be broadcast live from BC Place Stadium on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.


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The U.S. proved to be one of the most consistent teams across its three wins in Pool C Saturday, but could not replicate the early momentum against Argentina. Barrett was sent to the sin bin with a yellow card in the opening minute of play for a high tackle on Matias Osadczuk as the Argentinian was taken into touch. The U.S. nearly killed off the man-disadvantage without conceding points, but a turnover by Martin Iosefo behind the team's 22 allowed Bautista Delguy to score in the corner.

Barrett returned to the field of play following the try, and the Eagles rebounded from another turnover at midfield to steal an Argentina scrum in the fifth minute. Iosefo ran at two defenders approaching the attacking 10 before offloading to Baker, who left three defenders in his wake to level the match at 7-7.

Argentina slowly gained ground with possession from the ensuing restart, and Osadczuk kept his feet through a swinging tackle by Baker and follow-up by Barrett to place the ball in-goal for a 12-7 halftime lead.

Baker was made to chase two separate kicks downfield in the opening minutes of the second frame, with the second a successful play to draw a penalty inside the attacking half of the field. The Eagles took the 10th-minute tap and found Barrett in plenty of space out wide for a strong fend and match-winning score, 14-12. Niua and Ben Pinkelman each turned over possession to the U.S. defense and self-inflicted errors by Argentina in the set pieces helped ease the final minutes on the clock. Niua smartly drew the final seconds out with a penalty tap before stepping into touch to secure the Semifinal berth.

The comeback victory was not quite to the standard of last weekend's 21-point second half, and a rematch of the USA Sevens Semifinal will require improvements out of the Eagles if the Canada Sevens medal ceremony is to feature the U.S. above the third-place step. Friday revealed as much in the post-match interview Sunday, calling on his players to find the form that saw them outscore pool-play opponents 112-24.


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Sunday's Cup Semifinal between the Eagles and South Africa is scheduled to kick off at 6:08 p.m. ET, with the online broadcast available to viewers in the United States on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Argentina
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

Argentina | v. USA
1. Renzo Barbier
2. Lucas Belloto
3. Fernando Luna
4. Nicolas Menendez
5. Jose Barros Sosa
6. Matias Osadczuk
7. Bautista Delguy
8. Joaquin Riera
9. Gaston Revol
10. Felipe del Mestre
11. Franco Sabato
12. Luciano Gonzalez Rizzoni
13. Javier Rojas

Men's Eagles Sevens | 14
Tries: Baker, Barrett
Conversions: Hughes (2)
Discipline: Barrett (Yellow)

Argentina | 12
Tries: Osadczuk, Delguy
Conversions: Rojas

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Canada Sevens
v. Japan - W 52-0
v. France - W 31-19
v. Australia - W 29-5
Cup QF v. Argentina - W 14-12
Cup SF v. South Africa - Sunday, March 12 @ 6:08 p.m. ET