PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – A man down with no time on the clock, the Men’s Eagles Sevens pulled out their first win in nine matches Sunday in the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Bowl Quarterfinal, 19-14 against Spain.
Zack Test gave the ball to Stephen Tomasin in the fifth minute and the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American broke a stiff tackle from a Spanish defender to open the scoring. Folau Niua converted from in front for a 7-0 Eagles lead.
Less than a minute later, Spain’s Ignacio Martin got on the end of a long chip kick near the Eagles’ 10. Martin was chased by Test and kicked the bouncing ball in the air before getting a handle on it in the try zone. The current “try of the tournament” leveled the match at 7-7.
From the restart, the Eagles cycled the ball to the wing with swift passing, where Carlin Isles was readying his running boots. The fastest man in rugby once again proved his credentials with an 80-meter run to give the Eagles a 14-7 halftime lead.
Martin almost recreated his first-half try by chasing a grubber kick, but Test knocked the ball beyond the try zone for a scrum. Niua stole the ball from the scrum and the Eagles cleared, but three penalties during Spain’s next possession ended up costing the Eagles as Isles was sent to the sin bin with less than one minute remaining in the match.
Martin received the ball wide and ran into the try zone, but the Spaniard knew giving Igor Genua a wide-angled kick would not guarantee tying the match. He weaved through the try zone towards the posts and managed to dot down in the middle before substitute Nick Edwards could hold him up, though Martin was injured on the play.
Tied 14-14 with one second remaining in regulation, the Eagles gained possession from the restart. Moving the ball with purpose through the six men on the field, Niua and Test combined before the ball fell to Tomasin, who strode away from the defenders to score the match-winning try, his second of the match.
England defeated Scotland 19-7 in another Bowl Quarterfinal, setting up a date with the Eagles in the Bowl Semifinals. Watch the Eagles take on England Sunday at 8:23 A.M. ET on the USA Sevens website and follow live updates on Twitter with @USARugby.
Men's Eagles Sevens | v Spain
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
Men's Eagles Sevens | 19
Tries: Tomasin (2), Isles
Conversions: Niua (2)