DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Men’s Eagles Sevens suffered a trial by fire against Fiji Friday at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, a 36-5 loss.
The Eagles had the ball in the early going despite kicking off the match. They kept it through phases, as well, but could not get much closer than 15 meters from the try line.
Samisoni Viriviri made the Eagles pay for their lack of a killer instinct in the fourth minute after receiving a nifty offload from Waisea Nacuqu. The conversion was missed, keeping the score 5-0.
Andrew Durutalo created space in the ruck in the final minute of the first half and Stephen Tomasin picked up the ball for the Eagles’ opening try. Folau Niua missed the conversion, tying the match 5-5.
Test was slow to get up from the second-half restart, a scary sight for the Eagles’ all-time leading try scorer. A minute later, Pio Tuwai scored the Fijians’ second try. Niua, acting as sweeper, could not make the tackle and Zack Test was too late to catch the Fijian. Fiji led 10-5 with plenty of time remaining.
From the ensuing restart, the Eagles could not grab a hold of the ball and Samu Saqiwa capitalized, taking it to the posts for an easy try. Osea Kilinisau kicked the conversion to extend the lead to 17-5.
Viriviri scored his second try of the match in the 11th minute and Eagles coach Matt Hawkins inserted Carlin Isles, Pat Blair and Nu’u Punimata for a final push.
Isles had a chance to showcase his speed in the final minute, but could not outrun his opposite number. He turned over the ball and Mawalu was allowed to get his second try of the match for the 36-5 final score.
The Eagles’ next opponent, England, defeated Canada 47-7 in the opening Pool C match. Watch the Eagles and England on the IRB Sevens World Series website at 6:24 A.M. ET and follow live updates with @USARugby on Twitter.
Men's Eagles Sevens | v Fiji
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nick Edwards
3. Andrew Durutalo
4. Nu'u Punimata
5. Zack Test
6. Brett Thompson
7. Folau Niua
8. Pat Blair
9. Ryne Haitsuka
10. Zach Mizell
11. Stephen Tomasin
12. Miles Craigwell