HONG KONG, China – The Men’s Eagles Sevens could not turn a halftime lead into a win against New Zealand at Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Saturday, ultimately losing 17-7 to finish pool play 1-2.
The Eagles started with the ball and had a few phases before Madison Hughes cleared possession into New Zealand’s half. The Kiwis strung together a plethora of passes, Ambrose Curtis beat Mike Palefau and Bryce Heem finished the attack with the try. The conversion was unsuccessful for a 5-0 New Zealand lead.
New Zealand could have scored its second in the fourth minute with Ben Lam’s strong run, but the Eagles held strong at the line and moved the ball down the pitch. New Zealand committed a few penalties with the Eagles threatening within 10 meters and Zack Test took a quick tap and faked his defender with a step to add the equalizing try. Hughes kicked the conversion for a 7-5 halftime lead.
The reigning IRB HSBC Sevens World Series champion did not waste time to regain the lead with Heem’s second try of the match coming in the first minute of the second frame. Marty McKenzie’s conversion again was wide, keeping the Eagles close at 10-7.
In the 10th minute, Heem stole the ball from the Eagles’ ruck and McKenzie dragged Edwards a few meters in the tackle before Lam extended the lead to 15-7 with the try. McKenzie made his third conversion attempt to bring the score to 17-7.
The Eagles had a few chances in the dying stages of the match to find a try, but it was not to be. They were not able to score any tries or win the match, but they kept the score close to favor their point differential in the pool with a 17-7 loss.
Samoa and Scotland also finished pool play with 1-2 records, but the Eagles’ superior point differential puts them through to the Cup Quarterfinal in China. They will face Fiji at 11:28 P.M. ET. Follow the Eagles live from the seventh round of the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series with @USARugby on Twitter.
Men's Eagles Sevens | v New Zealand
1. Mike Palefau
2. Nick Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Brett Thompson
7. Marcus Satavu
8. Andrew Durutalo
9. Pono Haitsuka
10. Mike Te'o
11. Madison Hughes
12. Ryan Matyas
Men's Eagles Sevens | 7
Men's Eagles Sevens | Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Cup Quarterfinal
v Fiji - Saturday, March 29 - 11:28 P.M. ET