TOKYO -- The 10-21 loss to Kenya was a tough one to swallow for the Eagles who put in one of the best performances of the season in their second pool game of the Tokyo Sevens. The game left both teams gassed given the break neck speed and a handful of full-field breaks that didn't result in tries. It was great sevens rugby, but the USA just ended up short.
The USA and Kenya are now level in Pool B with 4 points each and the Eagles will next face undefeated Scotland in the last pool game of the day. With the cup quarterfinals within reach, the USA will go all in against a Scotland team they beat last weekend in Hong Kong.
The game was on a razor's edge and it took almost five minutes for either team to get on the board. It was Kenya who struck first though. About a meter out from scoring a try of their own, the Eagles got pinged for leaving their feet in the ruck. A quick tap and a few passes later, Dennis Ombachi was in for a 99 meter Kenya score.
Another try from Biko Adema before halftime put the Eagles in a hole that they couldn't climb out of. Add to that a questionable yellow card for Colin Hawley right before halftime, and the USA were in trouble.
However, their defense held with a man down to start the second half. Hawley quickly made amends for his absence. Kenya was on a break and for all the world looked as though they were going to score. Not on Hawley's watch. He hunted the Kenyan down, tackled him, turned the ball over and wisely kept the ball out of contact by floating a high arcing pass to Shalom Suniula in support. The Eagles offloaded brilliantly, built their attack patiently, and were rewarded when Zack Test capped it all of with a five-pointer. Instantly the commentators reckoned it was the try of the day.
Kenya was relentless though and despite a few more try-saving tackles from Luke Hume, Matt Hawkins, and Zack Test, Kenya ended up on top.
Carlin Isles managed to get a score in the dying moments, turning the corner on the Kenyan defense about 20 meters out. That try was scored with no chance of winning, but it was clear the Eagles wanted to get another score to help their case in the standings in a very tight Pool B.
The result wasn't good, but there was a lot to like as an Eagles fan. There was some very good defense, some phenomenal attacking movement, and patience with ball in hand. It was great sevens and the Eagles need replicate the effort and build on it against Scotland if they still want a shot at the cup quarterfinals.
Tries: Test, Isles
Tries: Ombachi, Adema, Ouma
Conversions: Adema (3)