Eagles strike first in Paris

PARIS - The Men's Eagles Sevens held off a late comeback effort by Argentina to open HSBC Paris Sevens with a 26-19 victory at Stade Jean-Bouin Saturday.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series-leading try-scorer Perry Baker improved his 2016-17 tally to 43 tries in the win, which puts the Eagles level with New Zealand on Pool B standings points in Paris. Head Coach Mike Friday's squad will continue pool play in the ninth round of the season against Wales at 8:32 a.m. ET. The live stream of the entire tournament can be found on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.

Argentina, coming off of its worst circuit leg in two years, capitalized on an early U.S. turnover to take an initial lead in the first minute of the game. Martin Iosefo was whistled in possession in front of the Eagles' try line, and simple passing from a tap led to Fernando Luna shoving off a tackle for the try, 5-0.

While the opening restart was won deep, Ben PInkelman and Stephen Tomasin both went up to fight for the second. Iosefo ran at a gap around his 22 and found Madison Hughes at midfield before Baker called for the ball out wide. Hughes' pass over a tackler was handled well by the wing for the try in the corner. Hughes sent the touch-line conversion through the uprights for a 7-5 U.S. advantage.

It did not take long for the Eagles to score again once Tomasin's restart catch set up a quick ball to Folau Niua. A dummy inside midfield, juke of a defender, and reach-over through a tackle put the Eagles up, 14-5, after just four minutes.

With Argentina in possession from the sixth-minute restart, Andrew Durutalo conceded a defensive penalty trying to overturn a ruck. The opposition set up a lineout at the Eagles' 10 and used an elusive run by Lautaro Bazan Velez to make room for Javier Rojas' try. The U.S. lead dwindled to 14-12 at the halftime whistle.

Both teams' chasers missed Niua's second-half restart, but the Eagles began the half with possession after Argentina lost the loose ball forward. Niua used his boot to better effect with a kick though the defensive line from the set piece, and Iosefo chased after it to dot down over the try line. Hughes converted his third try of the match to give the Eagles a two-score advantage at 21-12.

Five minutes remaining in a game of rugby sevens is plenty of time for four tries let alone two, and the Eagles controlled their time with possession with settled play around midfield. Baker's run on the wing was cut short momentarily before he stepped towards the inside of the field. The Eagles opened space in front of Baker with a swinging of the ball to the touch line and back to extend their lead to 26-12.

Hughes' only missed conversion kept it a two-score game, which allowed for a glimmer of hope to Argentina. Conrado Roura almost ran half the distance of the field himself to bring Argentina closer, but it took a follow-up by Gaston Revol to score after Maka Unufe made the chase-tackle. At 26-19, the Eagles lost their own lineout five meters from their try line but kept Argentina at bay in the final minute to take the 26-19 win.

Wales hung tough against New Zealand until succumbing to a few late tries in its first pool game of the day. The clash against the Eagles is set to kick off at 8:32 a.m.ET, with the live stream available to viewers in the United States on World Rugby's Sevens Series website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Argentina
1. Alex Schwarz
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Don Pati
4. Matai Leuta
5. Mike Te'o
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Naima Fualaau

Argentina | v. USA
1. Santiago Mare
2. Lucas Belloto
3. Fernando Luna
4. Conrado Roura
5. Jose Barros Sosa
6. Julian Dominguez
7. German Klubus
8. Joaquin Riera
9. Gaston Revol
10. Javier Rojas
11. Franco Sabato
12. Lautaro Bazan Velez
13. Mauro Perotti

Men's Eagles Sevens | 26
Tries: Baker (2), Niua, Iosefo
Conversions: Hughes (3)

Argentina | 19
Tries: Luna, Rojas, Revol
Conversions: Revol (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Paris Sevens
v. Argentina - W 26-19
v. Wales - Saturday, May 13 @ 8:32 a.m. ET
v. New Zealand - Saturday, May 13 @ 11:58 a.m. ET