TOKYO, Japan – The Men’s Eagles Sevens reached their first Plate Final of the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series at Tokyo Sevens Sunday, a 17-12 losing effort to Australia.
The Eagles fell behind in the first minute to a Greg Jeloudev try. His teammate got rid of the ball a few meters from the try line. The conversion was wide for a 5-0 lead.
Australia pounced on a few Eagles miscues, including Madison Hughes not picking up the ball cleanly from the ruck and a poor chip. Hughes was forced to clear the danger in the fourth minute with a kick to touch at midfield, but Danny Barrett picked off the lineout and raced into the try zone to set up Hughes with an easy conversion kick. The Dartmouth man converted for a 7-5 Eagles lead.
The Eagles held onto the 7-5 lead at the half and held an emotional halftime talk with Head Coach Matt Hawkins and Zack Test each offering words of encouragement.
It took just two minutes into the second half for Australia to regain the lead, this time through Tom Lucas. Nick Malouf did the dirty work with a tough run to the Eagles’ 22 before finding Lucas in space for the try. Barrett tackled him at the line but the Australian reached over and dotted down to give Australia a 12-7 lead.
Australia put the nail in the coffin in the 11th minute with a try from Con Foley, forcing the Eagles to need two tries in the final minutes. They moved down the pitch clinically and took advantage of a penalty near the try line for Test to add the first try. The clock, however, had reached zero, meaning the Eagles would not get a chance at another as the match ended 17-12.
The Eagles’ performance all weekend in Tokyo was reminiscent of last year’s tournament at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium. The Eagles won the Plate and went on to reach two other Plate Finals in Glasgow and London. The Eagles gain 12 points in the Series standings, the most they have earned in any tournament this season.
Hong Kong is up next for the Eagles, who will learn of their pool draw later in Tokyo. HSBC Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens kicks off March 28.
Men's Eagles Sevens| v Australia
1. Mike Palefau (@ 9')
2. Nick Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Brett Thompson
7. Marcus Satavu
8. Andrew Durutalo (@ 8')
9. Pono Haitsuka
10. Mike Te'o (@ 13')
11. Madison Hughes
12. Ryan Matyas
Men's Eagles Sevens | 12
Tries: Barrett, Test