HONG KONG, China – The Men’s Eagles Sevens will contest the Plate after losing to Fiji, 17-5, in the Cup Quarterfinal at Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Sunday.
Samisoni Viriviri opened the scoring for Fiji in the second minute following a missed tackle by Pono Haitsuka. Osea Kolinisau kicked the extras for an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles took a penalty after getting the ball back from the restart and, one pass later, Kolinisau ran down the touch line into the corner of the try zone to extend the lead to 12-0.
The Eagles responded before the end of the half to claw their way back into the match. Matt Hawkins’ men put together one of their best attacks of the tournament with the possession. Mike Palefau received the ball at midfield and made a move to the outside before trotting into the try zone for the Eagles’ try. The tough-angled conversion was wide, however, giving Fiji a seven-point lead at 12-5 at the half.
The Eagles came back from a halftime deficit against Fiji last weekend at Tokyo Sevens to earn a 17-17 draw, but it was not to be at Hong Kong Stadium.
After Benito Masilevu ran circles around the Eagles defense in the 10th minute, Fiji turned over the ball. Mike Te’o juked one defender in Fijian territory and hit an onrushing Danny Barrett with an offload. Barrett had eyes only for the try zone and pumped his legs into the ground to get there, but a Fijian defender reached him before he could dot down and pushed the Cal graduate into touch.
The Eagles put some more pressure on Fiji in its own try zone and an awful clearance kick was recovered by Thompson, who took a couple of steps and appeared to score a try in a tackle. The referee asked for a replay and it was deemed Thompson did not ground the ball.
Two disallowed tries in as many minutes ended up hurting the Eagles as Fiji scored in the 13th minute through Joeli Lutumailagi after an Eagles penalty. Down 17-5 with less than a minute remaining, the Eagles failed to score and would not have had enough time to find a second, anyway.
The Eagles can take heart in their never-say-die attitude in the loss, as they are set to face South Africa in the Plate Semifinal at 3:08 A.M. ET. Follow the match live on Twitter with @USARugby.
Men's Eagles Sevens | v Fiji
1. Mike Palefau
2. Nick Edwards
3. Danny Barrett (@ 9')
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Brett Thompson
7. Marcus Satavu (@ 14')
8. Andrew Durutalo
9. Pono Haitsuka
10. Mike Te'o (@ 10')
11. Madison Hughes
12. Ryan Matyas (@ 14')
Men's Eagles Sevens | 5
Men's Eagles Sevens | Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Plate Semifinal
v South Africa - Sunday, March 29 - 3:08 A.M. ET