USA Eagles
7 7
South Africa
35 14
Men's Sevens  @ Allianz Stadium
January 28, 20185:36 pm AEDT
Sydney 7s
Referee:  Damon Murphy, Australia
Sydney 7s - Cup Semi Final

Men's Sevens Drop Cup Semi Final to South Africa

SYDNEY, AUS. – The Men’s Eagles Sevens experienced a taste of their own medicine as dominant possession and high scoring allowed South Africa to run away with a 7-35 win in the Cup Semi Final at Sydney Sevens. The Springboks were on the map early and continued to exploit gaps in the Eagle defense en route to a victory which sends the United States to the Bronze Final against Argentina at 4:21 AM ET, LIVE on ESPN3.

“We were in it for the first half but the reality is we made too many mistakes at critical moments which allowed South Africa to capitalize,” said Head Coach Mike Friday. “They are too good a team to do that against and this sport is ruthless.”

USA began the match as it had most others in Sydney, claiming the ball at the restart and tossing it around to the outside for a sprint to cross the line. But, this one wouldn’t go so favorably. Unable to find space or hang on to the ball, the Eagles allowed Seabelo Senatla to snake past two tackles for the first Springbok score, 7-0.

The Eagles would earn their lone try moments later, taking advantage of Justin Geduld’s trip to the sin bin and Captain Philip Snyman’s penalty for a Folau Niua tap and go to Perry Baker, 7-7. With tensions high, Niua would earn his own trip to the sin bin moments later, all thanks to a high tackle that stopped South Africa’s driving force in its tracks. 

“The Folau tackle was a yellow that we have no complaints about, although we felt [South Africa] should have been down to five as they had a deliberate knock down which was penalized without a card issued,” said Coach Friday, describing his assessment of the penalty. 

The Springboks would get one more in right at the half, retaking the lead with Tim Agaba’s 30-meter dash. And, when play resumed, they continued to show no mercy.

Werner Kok slapped off a tackle by Martin Iosefo and increased the U.S. deficit to 7-21. A thrilling game of back-and-forth turnovers would soon follow as the Springboks and Eagles alternated charging down the field, ending with the South Africans on top, 7-28.

Tired, frustrated and finding difficulty locating their rhythm, the Eagles were unable to recover, giving away one more score to their opposition and ending the match with a 7-35 loss.

Though it was a disappointing result for the United States, the squad has only dropped two matches in Sydney; and, with his now 9th try of the tournament, World Rugby Player of the Year Perry Baker is one score short of tying Zack Test as USA’s All-Time Leading Try Scorer.

The speedster and his squad will look to finish strong in the Bronze Final against Argentina at 4:21 AM ET, LIVE on ESPN3.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Roster | Sydney 7s Tournament
Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Madison Hughes (C)
Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Matai Leuta
Chris Mattina
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman
Joe Schroeder
Stephen Tomasin
Maka Unufe
Kevon Williams

Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff | Sydney 7s Tournament
Head Coach – Mike Friday
Assistant Coach – Chris Brown 
Assistant Coach – Phil Greening
Physiotherapist – Brian Green

Men’s Eagles Sevens Schedule | Sydney 7s Tournament
LIVE on ESPN3
vs. Australia | 19-26 (L)
vs. Scotland | 26-12 (W)
vs. Canada | 19-40 (W)

Cup Quarter Finals
vs. Fiji | 24-7 (W)

Cup Semi Finals
vs. South Africa | 7-35 (L)

Bronze Final 
vs. Argentina | Sun, Jan. 28 – 4:21 AM ET