Men's Sevens
21 0
31 19
Men's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
Dubai Sevens
  Paulo Duarte, Portugal
13th Place Semifinal

USA Avoids Shutout but Forfeits 13th Place Semifinal to Wales

Audiences in Dubai almost witnessed a shutout between the United States and Wales until the Men's Eagles Sevens found the spark to score 3 tries in the final four minutes to come 10 points shy of a victory. The final 21-31 decision marks the end of the Eagles campaign at the 2017 Dubai Sevens Tournament, with USA moving to 15th place in the final standings and picking up 1 point in the Series overall.

The first half of the match saw a dominating performance by the Welsh who used long passes and wide-open spaces to score the first 19 points. After taking the initial possession, Wales' Cameron Lewis offloaded a one-handed pass to Joe Jenkins who, after a penalty and chase by Eagle Martin Ioseffo, dove the ball across the line for the open score, 5-0. A missed conversion sent both teams back into play where USA's Danny Barrett was hauled down during a promising drive that followed a catch from a high kickoff.

Moment's later, Wales used strategic passing and a well-placed ball to put two more on the board. The first, a drive which allotted Tomi Lewis enough space to outrun Stephen Tomasin; and the second, through a passing relay between Ethan Davies and Cameron Lewis which saw Lewis increase the Eagle deficit to 19.

The Welsh shutout almost ended just before the half when Eagles' Barrett flicked the ball back to Tomasin for the dot down, just before falling out of touch. The referee was unconvinced, however, calling upon the TMO to review Barrett's position before Tomasin crossed the line. In an unfortunate turn of events, the officials called a United States knock on, stripping the try and sending both teams into halftime.

Though Wales took a healthy lead into the second half, they would soon be unearthed by an Eagles squad who was unwilling to go quietly. First, Captain Madison Hughes found the space to take the ball up the right flank towards the Wales tryline but was cut short off a tackle that eventually gave another try to Tomi Lewis. Now behind 27 points, the Eagles snapped into gear.

In the 10th minute, Tomasin tossed the ball to Maka Unufe who took a long run along the side and found his way across the line for the first USA score, 27-5. Then, after Hughes' conversion, Carlin Isles got his hands on the ball and danced past Wales' offenders, sprinting away from Ethan Davies in spectacular fashion for the dot down, 27-14.

Though Luke Morgan would answer back on behalf of the Welsh, the Eagles continued to push past the final minute. After the whistle, USA kept the ball in play, passing it back and forth until it found Joe Schroeder who darted through defenders to score the last points of the match, 21-31.

Following the loss, Head Coach Mike Friday looked upon his team's latest result with perspective, knowing what's ahead for the squad in Cape Town.

"We can take little in terms of results from this weekend but that doesn't define us or the team," said Friday. "We need some big reflection and a reaction for next week as sevens is unforgiving and we have paid the ultimate price for lacking execution."

USA RUGBY MEN'S SEVENS ROSTER | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

1. Carlin Isles
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Danny Barrett
4. Matai Leuta
5. Joe Schroeder
6. Malon Al Jiboori
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (Captain)
11. Martin Iosefo
12. Naima Fualaau

USA RUGBY MEN'S SEVENS STAFF | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

Head Coach - Mike Friday
Assistant Coach - Chris Brown
Physio - Brian Green
Team Analyst - Paul Goulding
Team Manager - Scott Novack

USA RUGBY MEN'S SEVENS SCHEDULE | Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens

Friday, Dec. 1 - Pool D Play
vs. Argentina - 14-22 (L)
vs. Samoa - 14-26 (L)
vs New Zealand - 22-12 (L)

Saturday, Dec. 2 - Challenge Trophy Quarterfinals 
vs. Canada - 10-5 (L)

Saturday, Dec. 2 - 13th Place Semifinal 
vs. Wales - 21-31 (L)

The Eagles finish the 2017 Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Tournament in 15th place with 1 point towards their overall HSBC Series standing. They'll take a few days to regroup as a team before heading to Cape Town for the second stop of the 2017-18 Series to run Dec. 9-10.