For Immediate Release
March 26, 2011
Eagles 2-1 in Hong Kong, Move to Bowl Quarters
HONG KONG – The USA Eagles defeated China 36-14 and lost to England 12-37 in the second day of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, giving them a 2-1 record and entry into the Bowl Quarterfinals where they will face Tonga.
USA V. CHINA
Paul Emerick, who strayed from his usual role as a shock trooper to exploit weary defenders late in games, got a start for the Eagles against China. He immediately made his presence known, scoring two unanswered tries in the first half.
China got a try of their own shortly after Emerick’s second score through Lu Zhuan, but Todd Clever dotted another one down for the USA before the halftime whistle blew, giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead.
Emerick started the second half the same way he did the first, using his power and pace to cut up the Chinese defense. Shalom Suniula slotted the conversion and the Eagles were off to the races.
China answered back with a converted try from Long Hanxiao, but that would be all the points the Chinese could muster in this one and it would be all Eagles from that point on.
USA Head Coach Al Caravelli brought on some fresh legs in former gridiron stars, Miles Craigwell and Taylor Mokate. The substitutions would make a difference and truly put the game out of reach for the Chinese.
Zack Test, the unassuming elite try-scorer for the Eagles, scored a converted try to put his side ahead by even more and his captain, Matt Hawkins, contributed late in the game to finish the match out with a final score of 36-14.
USA V. ENGLAND
A firmer test was on tap for the Eagles with England. Al Caravelli put some speed in the starting lineup with Emerick, Test, Craigwell, and Arizona Wildcat and Eagles newcomer, Peter Tiberio taking the field first against England.
Team USA was put on the back foot almost immediately though as England‘s James Rodwell scored within the first minute. Englishman Dan Norton piled on another try nearly a minute later and the Eagles would need an answer. One came through Zack Test in the fourth minute of play.
Test flew to his 15th try in the 2010-2011 HSBC Sevens World Series and the Eagles were on the board and behind by just five points until Norton struck again just before the half. Ben Gollings converted for England and the score was 5-17 at halftime.
England hit early in the second half as English youngster Oliver Lindsay-Hague scored and moments later Ben Gollings both converted Lindsay-Hague’s score and got a five-pointer to call his own, putting England ahead 5-27.
Caravelli called on Mokate and Colin Hawley after Gollings’ try in an attempt to stop the bleeding for the Eagles. However, England had already smelled blood in the water and Dan Caprice and Nick Royle both scored for England before the USA could answer.
Eagle newcomer Tiberio scored a try for the USA in his first ever international sevens match to end the game with a final score of 12-37.
On Sunday the Eagles play Tonga in the Bowl Quarterfinals. Tong had a heartbreaking tournament-opening loss to Scotland and started day two with a seven point loss to their neighbors to the north, Samoa. Tonga rallied against Mexico though and have momentum going into the Bowl Quarters.
If the Eagles beat Tonga, they’ll move to the Bowl Semifinals and face either Scotland or Japan. If not, their Hong Kong campaign will come to an end.
Kickoff against Tonga is at 10:50 a.m. HKT, 10:50 p.m. ET.
Universal Sports will deliver more than eight hours of live coverage of the Hong Kong Sevens on Saturday night, March 26 beginning at 12:00 midnight ET, 9:00 p.m. PT. The broadcast will feature all of the Cup matches, from the quarter-finals to the finals. Additionally, all the semi-finals and finals of the Shield, Plate and Bowl brackets will be shown.
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