Men's Sevens
19 19
Scotland
14 7
Men's Sevens  @ FMG Stadium Waikato
Hamilton Sevens
  Matt Rodden
espn-plus

Men's Eagles Sevens hold on to defeat Scotland in nerve-wracking Quarterfinal

HAMILTON, NZL. - USA fans all over the world were at the edges of their seats tonight. After cruising through pool play with three decisive wins, the Men's Eagles Sevens just barely snuck past Scotland 19-14 after costly second-half mistakes almost stole the lead out from under them. 

The United States men opened the game with three consecutive statement-making tries; showing audiences at HSBC New Zealand Sevens exactly how they achieved their No. 1 World Ranking. 

After Folau Niua claimed the opening kickoff, a quick toss to Captain Madison Hughes was all the USA needed for Hughes to run it all the way, 7-0.  Another restart and conscious protection of the ball allowed Martin Iosefo to break far past the gain line and offload to Folau Niua before Stephen Tomasin finished the try, 12-0. 

And, as has been the case all weekend, Carlin Isles proved once again why his speed can't be matched. The Eagles Sevens star converted the third consecutive restart to an exciting wide open run, increasing the lead to 19-0 before Scotland could get a chance at possession. 

Scotland's first attack would come on the next play, after which a chase down and tackle by Isles fell short of preserving the shutout. The Scottish offload was as quick as the chase and Robbie Fergusson dashed away from the breakdown to make it 19-7. 

The second-half saw a harsh opportunity slip from the Eagles Sevens hands as careless errors in ball-handling led to Scotland decreasing the 12 point gap. 

A missed tackle allowed Martin Iosefo to score but the try was stripped as the ball slipped before Iosefo could formally dot down. Scotland took the next possession and -- despite a penalty giving it back to USA -- a loose ball handed it right back to the opposition. 

The United States' defense held strong for some time, keeping the Scottish behind the halfway mark and forcing them further and further away from the line. But Scotland made a tricky offload on the right flank where Max McFarland was waiting and ran straight for the try, 19-14.

With just over two minutes remaining, the Eagles Sevens fought desperately to regain their momentum but anxious play only managed to create more penalties. 

Just before the final whistle, a mistake on the lineout by Captain Madison Hughes gave Scotland a scrum inside the USA half. Moving quickly and sure they would score, the Scottish committed their own deadly mistake and the Americans prevailed by way of an illegal hold on Danny Barrett. 

Despite the challenges throughout the second half of play, the United States continues to show unrivaled defensive strength. The squad will next face 2018 World Cup Champion New Zealand and current No. 2 seed in the rankings at 10:38 PM ET, LIVE on watch.espnplus.com

Men's Eagles Sevens Staff

Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | JD Stephenson
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Jon Hood
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack

HSBC New Zealand Sevens Schedule & Results

Pool B | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN+

vs Tonga | 29-7 (W)
vs Samoa | 34-14 (W)
vs England | 19-7 (W)

Cup Quarterfinals
vs Scotland | 19-14 (W)

Cup Semifinals
vs New Zealand | Jan 26 - 10:38 PM ET 

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