Men's Sevens
0 0
Fiji
38 17
Men's Sevens  @ FMG Stadium Waikato
January 27, 20188:10 pm NZDT
Hamilton Sevens
  James Doleman
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Men's Eagles Sevens win third-consecutive Silver Medal in Hamilton

HAMILTON, NZ. - The USA Men's Eagles Sevens have won their third-consecutive silver medal at HSBC New Zealand Sevens 2019. Despite a gut-wrenching loss to reigning Olympic Champion Fiji, the USA men still come away tied at No. 1 in the World. 

Facing an almost perfect Fijian side, the Eagles Sevens were challenged on every possession. The 2016 Rio Gold Medalists were relentlessly swift in their passing and even more diligent defensively; clearing any opportunity the USA had to gain ground and claiming a 38-0 win. 

"We are disappointed to lose again and whilst we can take some comfort from making our third consecutive final and are illustrating a consistency in what we are doing, we want to win cups and that hunger will drive us on to be better," said Head Coach Mike Friday. "We do have to congratulate Fiji who were the better team this evening and deserved to win the Cup and they were running hot the entire game in what was an electric atmosphere.

"We will need to recover and reflect as a group on what we are doing well, and what we need to do better next week as we need to grind again in a very hot Sydney climate."

The opening try came from a USA lineout tipped to Fiji, where an all-too-easy offload sent Jerry Tuwai flying over the tryline. The Fijians would score two more tries on consecutive possessions: once by Waisea Nacuqu on a USA knock-on and another by Aminiasi Tuimaba after snatching the ball at the breakdown. 

A forward pass on Fiji gave the United States an opportunity shortly after but a penalty fed the ball back to the Fiji's Alasio Sovita Naduva to score another try.

With several minutes remaining, Fiji was called for being offsides and USA's Brett Thompson made it within touching distance of a score. But, five meters from the tryline, Fiji's Jerry Tuwai countered the breakdown, stole the ball and ran pitch length for another try. 

Alasio Sovita Naduva dotted down once more on the final play to steal Gold.

Out of all six games contested this weekend, the Fijians posed the toughest of them all. It wasn't without grit, unrivaled intensity and a fierce determination, however, that the United States approached every battle. 

While three straight silver medals and a tied No. 1 ranking still don't silence the loss of Gold, the many heroic performances of the tournament are a statement of their own. Three Eagles Sevens received Dream Team honors in the defensive splendor of Carlin Isles, matched with top speeds; sharp, intelligent passes of Ben Pinkelman; and recognition long overdue for legendary playmaker Folau Niua. 

Seven tournaments now remain in an Olympic qualifying season with the next one up ahead at HSBC Sydney Sevens 2019. The USA will face Canada, Kenya and France in Pool B with the full tournament running Feb 2-3 (local time). All matches may be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ at 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 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 | 17-7 (W)

Cup Final
vs Fiji | 38-0 (L)

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