GLASGOW, Scotland – The Men’s Eagles Sevens earned another trip to a Plate Final Sunday with a 22-7 win against Fiji at Glasgow Sevens. The Eagles will earn at least 12 points in the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series standings this weekend.
Brett Thompson earned his first start of the tournament for the Eagles, while Colin Hawley and Blaine Scully were rested.
Fiji started the match with possession and completed nearly 20 passes without getting out of its own half. Matt Hawkins made a good tackle on the left wing to force a lineout and turn over possession.
Nick Edwards’ strong play was on show yet again against Fiji, and he nearly added his seventh try of the tournament in the third minute with a powerful run. As he was taken down, he found an onrushing Folau Niua for the game’s opening try and a 5-0 lead.
Fiji was given less and less time and space as the game grew, with at least two Eagles committed to each tackle. In the sixth minute, Thompson’s counterruck regained possession for the Eagles before he finished the play with his first try of the tournament. The Eagles took the 10-0 lead into the half.
Zach Test won the second half restart and Fiji committed a penalty while he was in the air to give the Eagles time to set up their offense. It helped, as Andrew Durutalo, Test and Edwards each showed off some of their individual playmaking ability to combine for Edwards’ tournament-leading seventh try. Shalom Suniula kicked the conversion for a 17-0 lead.
Fiji got on the board one minute later through Samisoni Viriviri, who broke down the left side with pace untouched. Joji Baleviani Raqamate converted the try to decrease the Eagles’ lead to 17-7.
Zach Test was rewarded with a try in the 12th minute after more hard work from Edwards, Hawkins and newly-substituted Luke Hume. Test, harried by a Fijian defender, dove into the corner of the try area for his 72nd career try and the important 22-7 lead.
With just 90 seconds remaining, Jack Halalilo and Carlin Isles also came on for the Eagles, replacing some tired legs. Though Isles could not find space to accelerate on the offensive side of the ball, he did save a try with his speed and hustle to chase down a Fijian attacker ten yards from the try zone. The Eagles got the ball and ate the remaining 15 seconds on the clock to earn the Plate Final berth.
After guaranteeing core team status for next year's Series, the Eagles have turned their confidence into arguably their strongest play of the season in Glasgow. Argentina awaits the Eagles in the Plate Final with a 22-7 win against Canada in the other Semifinal. Follow updates from the match with @USARugby on Twitter beginning at 12:48 P.M. ET.
Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. Fiji
1 Carlin Isles (s)
2 Nick Edwards
3 Andrew Durutalo
4 Shalom Suniula
5 Zach Test
6 Matt Hawkins
7 Folau Niua
8 Jack Halalilo (s)
9 Luke Hume (s)
10 Blaine Scully (s)
11 Colin Hawley (s)
12 Brett Thompson
Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. Fiji
Tries: Niua, Thompson, Edwards, Test
Men’s Eagles Sevens | Glasgow Sevens
Plate Final vs. Argentina - 12:48 A.M. ET Sunday, May 5