USA Eagles
10  
Samoa
14 7
Men's Sevens  @ FMG Stadium Waikato
February 3, 20182:48 pm NZDT
Hamilton Sevens
Pool Play - Pool D

Eagles Fall to Samoa in the Final Moments

WAIKATO, NZ. – It was almost a victory for the Men’s Eagles Sevens until Samoa’s Laaloi Leilua caught fire and ran for a last minute score. The 10-14 loss was a heartbreaker for the Americans who spent the majority of the first half struggling to gain ground. After breaking open in the second half and driving momentum forward, the Eagles were unable to finish strong and now look ahead to their final pool play match against Kenya at 12:22 AM ET (Sat, Feb. 3), LIVE on ESPN3. 

With no score for the first six minutes of play, competition between the Americans and Samoans was riddled with penalties. The Eagles wrestled with the ball for the first four minutes, breaking their opponent’s territory but unable to overcome a physicality at the  breakdown. Then, in the final 20 seconds of the half, Samoa’s Murphy Paulo found enough space to break open and dash past three Eagle defenders on his way to the first try, 0-7. 

As it typically does when Head Coach Mike Friday and his squad get a slow start, halftime proved to be beneficial for the group to refocus and connect with their plan of attack. 

Coming into the second half, play resumed with the United States fueled with urgency. Captain Ben Pinkelman got his hands on the ball and battled to stay on his feet at the hands of Samoan defenders. Though they tried to tackle, the release wasn’t quick enough allowing the Captain to take a quick tap and go, sneaking across the line, 5-7. The Americans scored again moments later as Martin Iosefo saw enough space for Perry Baker to run it all the way, 10-7.

With a victory close in their sights, the Eagles needed to remain focused to finish the half. But, before they final whistle could blow, Samoa brought a final dominant attack with Laaloi Leilua taking the ball and recovering from a stumble to dot down, 10-14. 

The Eagles will return at 12:22 AM (Sat, Feb. 3) for their final match of pool play against Kenya, LIVE on ESPN3.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff | Hamilton 7s Tournament

Head Coach – Mike Friday
Assistant Coach – Chris Brown
Assistant Coach – Phil Greening
Physiotherapist – Brian Green

Men’s Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool D | Hamilton 7s Tournament

LIVE on ESPN3
vs. Canada | 28-14 (W)
vs. Samoa | 10-14 (L)
vs. Kenya | Sat, Feb. 3 – 12:22 AM ET