Australia narrowly edges Men's Sevens in SV7s Final

SAN JOSE, CA - At the first ever Silicon Valley Sevens Cup Final, both teams entered with perfect records but only one would finish unblemished. Unfortunately for the United States, that team would be Australia as they defeated the Eagles 15-12 in a narrow victory on Sunday night. 

Head Coach Mike Friday recaps, "It has been an informative tournament for us and we have been able to provide some of the less experienced squad members valuable game time to play our systems, and put into practice what we have been working on in pre-season." 

The United States came into the match confident having comfortably won their previous 5 of the weekend. The enthusiasm could be seen on the growling face of Folau Niua as he held to ball to kick off. He would begin the drama with a kick through recovery from Australia, giving the US an early advantage.

Good ball movement and stout defense brought possession to the opposing end where Chris Mattina had what looked to be an opening until his jersey was held and brought him to the ground. Persistent protection of the ball just outside the goal line finally resulted in a Ben Pinkelman try, giving the US a 5-0 lead.

Men's Eagles kept momentum shortly after when Stephen Tomasin hit the turbo button and sped away for another try, with time expiring. 

Australia would however be given an opportunity with the clock reading zeros and capitalize. Frontman Ed Jenkins dotted down and the halftime lead was cut to 7.

During the break, Folau Niua was working to stay loose during the huddle. Having played every minute of the tournament, the final game began to show a little fatigue. Kevon Williams would sub in for Matai Leuta to support the speed attack. 

The Aussies saw an opportunity open on the left flank and dished to Jenkins once more, taking their first lead of the match. 

Spirits rose during the ensuing kick off as the ball was awarded in good position due to a poor kick off from Australia. The US took advantage bringing the ball along the left flank, hoping to connect with Williams outside as they had all tournament, but he could not cross the line. A line out to Australia would be the decisive play as the speedy Maurice Longbottom took the ball field-length, capping off a 15-12 victory and Silicon Valley Sevens Cup title. 



"The result was not the most important part of the weekend for us. Whilst as a squad we do not like losing, there have been some real positives." continued Friday, "We have a team building charity house build as a squad in Mexico later this week. We'll then be back on the training pitch with another High Performance camp, putting all the things we learned from this tournament, into the melting pot to prepare and build towards Dubai."

The Men's and Women's Sevens squads will be traveling to the Baja through Youth With A Mission for a team building and motivational project. 

Positive take aways do emerge from the weekend however as Mike Friday's squad saw young talent truly step up through Chris Mattina and Joe Schroeder. Schroeder's aggressive and physical play was very much on display as he proved to be a hard body to bring down, while Mattina showed flashes of real speed up the middle. 

Looking forward, Coach Friday has a collection of talent to choose from as the team sets course for Dubai and the HSBC series opener. 

USA Rugby Men's Sevens | Silicon Valley Sevens
Malon Al-Jiboori
Ben Pinkelman (C)
Joe Schroeder
Matai Leuta
Ryan Matyas
Anthony Welmers
Folau Niua
Maka Unufe Jr.
Stephen Tomasin
Chris Mattina
Kevon Williams
Martin Iosefo
Madison Hughes

USA Rugby Men's Sevens | Silicon Valley Staff
Mike Friday, Head Coach
Chris Brown, Assistant Coach
Brian Green, Physio
Paul Goulding, Team Analyst
Sarah Sall, Team Manager

Men's Eagles Sevens | Silicon Valley Sevens Pool C
v Tonga: W 29-7
v New Zealand: W 24-12
v Chile: W 29-21

Men's Eagles Sevens | Silicon Valley Sevens Knock Out Rounds
v Fiji: W 24-5
v England: W 27-0
v Australia L 15-12