GLASGOW, Scotland – It took extra time in the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens Shield Semifinal, but Japan knocked the Men’s Eagles Sevens out of the penultimate round of the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series with a 19-14 win Sunday.
Sloppy play littered the match, mostly due to the wet conditions in Scotland. Both teams committed more knock-ons than either would have liked and passes were much slower than the previous matches, causing less fluid attacks.
The Eagles held the early advantage and threatened to score first, but opportunities for Zack Test and Garrett Bender ended with knocks. Bender was shown the match’s first yellow card in the final minute of the first half and Japan took advantage of the extra space created seconds later. Masaki Watanabe scored the try for Japan, who, like the Eagles, had not won a match in Glasgow this weekend.
Katsuyuki Sakai’s conversion was successful to send the teams into halftime with Japan leading 7-0.
In the ninth minute, Will Holder saved a certain try by chasing down a chip kick near the Eagles’ try line. He kept possession for the Eagles and the ball came to Ryan Matyas, who earned his first start of the weekend against Japan. Matyas broke one tackle deep in his team’s own half and sprinted downfield, breaking one tackle on his way to the try zone. Test kicked the conversion to put the Eagles level on terms.
Less than a minute later, Japan was penalized five meters from its own try line. Andrew Durutalo took the quick tap and fed Nick Edwards for the Eagles’ second try and first lead of the tournament. Test extended the lead with the conversion to bring the score to 14-7.
The Eagles needed to hold the lead for three minutes but were betrayed again with more penalty trouble. Brett Thompson was sent to the bin less than a minute after Edwards’ try for a high tackle. Japan began to move the ball and another Eagles penalty set up Hashino in front of the uprights for an easy try. Sakai kicked the conversion to send the match into extra time.
The full five minutes were played in extra time and both teams seemed likely to score. The Eagles were hemmed back in the final minute of extra time and lost the ball forward. Japan, utilizing the referee’s advantage, scored through Dai Ozawa in the corner to get the 19-14 win and advance to the Shield Final.
The Eagles gain one point in the Series standings in Glasgow, finishing the tournament 0-5. Four Eagles – Bender, Edwards, Holder, and Matyas – scored for the Eagles in those five matches. Matt Hawkins’ men will look to turn it around next week at Marriott London Sevens. Pools and fixtures for the final round of this year’s Series will be announced this week.
Men's Eagles Sevens | v Japan
1. Mike Palefau
2. Nick Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Brett Thompson
7. Will Holder
8. Andrew Durutalo
9. Pono Haitsuka
10. Mike Te'o
11. Nu'u Punimata
12. Ryan Matyas
Men's Eagles Sevens | 14
Tries: Matyas, Edwards
Conversions: Test (2)