USA Eagles
New Zealand
Women's Sevens  @ Westhills Stadium
May 27, 20171:36 pm PDT
Canada Sevens
Referee:  Sara Cox

Eagles, Kiwis separated by one try in Canada

 Michael Lee / KLC fotos

LANGFORD, British Columbia - In one of the lowest-scoring matches of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, Shakira Baker scored the match-winning try in New Zealand's 7-0 defeat of the USA Women's Eagles Sevens Saturday at HSBC Canada Sevens.

The fans at Westhills Stadium were enthralled for 14 minutes as the two sides parried each other's attacks, though Richie Walker's team will rue the defensive errors and ill-discipline that allowed New Zealand lengthy spells of possession. The Eagles will need a victory in their final match of pool play - against the Netherlands at 6:58 p.m. ET - if they are to secure a spot in Sunday's Cup Quarterfinals. The tournament is available to watch live on The Rugby Channel.

The first half was scoreless, with Ruby Tui the only New Zealand player to break midfield through seven minutes. She beat the defense from the opening restart but could not outrace Kristen Thomas for the tackle to be made at the U.S. 22, where the Eagles won a turnover via a penalty. Cheta Emba drew a penalty at the 10 in the Eagles' first attack for captain Alev Kelter to set up a lineout, but the attack came to nothing as the ball spilled forward from Kate Zackary's hands in contact 20 meters from the try line.

Kelter was whistled for not releasing the ball-carrier in a necessary stand-up tackle at the 22 before Emba stole the ensuing lineout, but again the whistle was blown against the U.S. as Kelter neared the posts. A high tackle against the captain was called at the try line following the scrum before the half ended, 0-0, when Kelter forced a knock out of her opposite number.

The second half was much more even, contested predominantly in the middle third of the field, but not until New Zealand dotted down the match's only try. The Eagles were penalized on the restart and stretched enough defensively for Baker to slot through the gain line on a switch from 40 meters. Tyla Nathan-Wong converted for the 7-0 lead two minutes into the half.

Match official Sara Cox's whistle was busy in the final minutes of the game as the Eagles fought to break the try line themselves. Emba almost had the immediate reply from the 10th-minute restart only to have play called back for a knock before Tapper was pinged in contact for a 12th-minute lineout throw at the U.S. 22. The ball was thrown over the heads of the jumpers for U.S. possession, but a kick downfield for the Eagles' speedy wingers found touch.

Jessica Javelet nearly found a route around the defense on a run from her own 10, but a loose pass was picked up by New Zealand to end the attacking opportunity. The rush defense worked wonders against New Zealand as the clock wound down to keep the Kiwis from scoring a second. A late penalty, however, gave New Zealand the chance to tick away the final seconds by setting up a lineout.

The Eagles have not been shut out on the circuit since early 2016, though Team USA did fall to New Zealand, 5-0, in the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Quarterfinals. The U.S. will need to rebound in their final match of the day against the Netherlands, winless after two matches, with England equal on points in Canada Sevens' Pool A. The match is scheduled for 6:58 p.m. ET, and can be watched live on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens | v. New Zealand

1. Cheta Emba

2. Kristen Thomas

3. Kate Zackary

4. Nicole Heavirland

5. Sylvia Braaten

6. Alev Kelter (C)

7. Naya Tapper

8. Kelly Griffin

9. Kelsi Stockert

10. Joanne Fa'avesi

11. Mata Hingano

12. Jessica Javelet

New Zealand | v. USA

1. Ruby Tui

2. Shakira Baker

3. Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga

4. Niall Williams

5. Crystal Mayes

6. Michaela Blyde

7. Tyla Nathan-Wong

8. Jess Drummond

9. Katarina Whata-Simpkins

10. Theresa Fitzpatrick

11. Alena Saili

12. Cheyelle Robins-Reti

Women's Eagles Sevens | 0

Tries: N/A

Conversions: N/A

New Zealand | 7

Tries: Baker

Conversions: Nathan-Wong

Women's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Canada Sevens

v. England - W 21-19

v. New Zealand - L 7-0

v. Netherlands - Saturday, May 27 @ 6:58 p.m. ET