November 26, 2011
Eagles Nab Five Series Points in Gold Coast
GOLD COAST, Australia – The Eagles snagged five HSBC Sevens World Series points in the Gold Coast, marking a strong start to their 2011-2012 campaign. With five points, the Eagles are tied for 11th place and move up one spot from where they finished last season.
The USA punched their ticket to the Gold Coast bowl quarterfinals after a strong day one performance and took care of Papua New Guinea 24-5 on day two to advance to the semis against Scotland.
With the first of the nine-stop World Series under their belts, the Eagles will continue on to Dubai next weekend (December 2-3) and Port Elizabeth on December 9-10 to round out their 2011 tournament schedule.
USA v. Papua New Guinea (Bowl Quarterfinal)
The Eagles dominated the bowl quarterfinal against Papua New Guinea to ensure a spot in the bowl semis.
Captain Shalom Suniula opened the USA's record in the quarters, but a quick answer from PNG shook the confidence gained from Suniula's score. USA veteran Nick Edwards crossed the line before halftime to give the Eagles 10-5 lead at the interval.
Mike Palefau once again showed he has a nose for the tryline by scoring less than a minute into the second half. More Eagles' scores were to come.
Edwards created an opportunity and was at his wily best in the backline as the Eagles would go on to win the contest 24-5.
Tries: S. Suniula, Edwards (2), Palefau
Cons: Niua (2)
Papua New Guinea 5
Tries: Dougie Guise
USA v. Scotland (Bowl Semifinal)
The Eagles struggled to get the ball in their bowl semifinal matchup against Scotland. On the back foot for much of the first half, when the Eagles did make breaks, a lack of support saw the chances melt into the Australian sunshine. Folau Niua had a great break and rightfully slowed for support and found veteran Mike Palefau. Niua looped outside of Palefau, but the ball hit the deck and Scotland regained possession.
Some good individual performances by Scotland and keen field awareness had Scotland up by 12 points at halftime. The USA was trying to find a way to stop the bleeding but Scotland's Ross Miller found a gap and added another five points to his team's tally. With two minutes left, Niua laced a grubber kick through to Colin Hawley on the wing and the former Cal Golden Bear gathered it for five USA points.
Scotland managed to keep the ball out of the Eagles' hands for the remaining time and the clock ticked down for the USA, forcing them to bow out of the tournament, but not before they claimed five World Series points for making it to the Bowl Semifinals.
Tries: Hidalgo-Clyne, Miller (2)
USA MEN'S SEVENS SCHEDULE 2011-2012
October 29-30: 2011 Pan-Am Games (Guadalajara, Mexico)
November 25-26: Gold Coast Sevens (Gold Coast, Australia)
December 2-3: Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
December 9-10: South Africa Sevens (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
February 3-4: Wellington Sevens (Wellington, New Zealand)
February 10-12: USA Sevens (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
March 23-25: Hong Kong Sevens (Hong Kong, China)
March 31- April 1: Tokyo Sevens (Tokyo, Japan)
May 5-6: Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland)
May 12-13: Emirates Airline London 7s (London, England)