LONDON, England – The Men’s Eagles Sevens lost 19-15 in the final moments of the match against Australia at Twickenham Stadium.
There is a slim difference between the teams in the Eagles’ pool, with South Africa defeating Australia 5-0 and then winning a last-second clash 17-14 against France.
Head Coach Alex Magleby made one change to his starting line-up, bringing in Brett Thompson for Colin Hawley.
Right from the start, Thompson made a break down the touchline, but Andrew Durutalo couldn’t hang onto the pass. The Eagles then defended superbly with Nick Edwards on the wing, creating a valuable turn-over. Shalom Suniula saw a gap on the outside and switched nicely with Durutalo. The USA’s leading try scorer - Zach Test - found a hard-running Thompson busting through the defense. But Thompson was ankle-tapped and with only two meters away from the try line had to side-step two more defenders to score an excellent try. The conversion attempt from Suniula went wide, with the Eagles leading 5-0.
The Wallabies attacked straight from the kick-off and were awarded a penalty inside the Eagles half for off-sides at the ruck. Allan Fa'alava'au collected a great inside pass and dove over to score for Australia. James Stannard added the extras, 7-5 to Australia.
A restart error gave the Eagles a penalty on the halfway line. After a few phases, Suniula exploited some space out wide and almost connected with Test. The result was an Australian line-out right near their own goal line. Thompson put his opposite number under pressure with a solid tackle and Matt ‘the Polar Bear’ Hawkins cleared out the attempted rucker. This clinical defence allowed an ever-present Thompson to scoop up the ball and slide over for his second try. Suniula’s conversion hit the upright, but the Eagles now led 10-7 at half time.
The Eagles defense has been tremendous as of late, and with another turn-over, this time from Durutalo, the Eagles broke out from their own 22-meter with Thompson bringing Twickenham Stadium to it’s feet by sprinting all the way to score. Thompson’s hat trick put the Eagles up 15-7 at the start of the second half.
Blaine Scully - who replaced the fantastic Thompson - made an immediate impact with a high kick-off take. Australia managed to eventually take possession - but two excellent tackles - one from Edwards and the other from Scully, halted the attack. The pressure was too much and Ed Jenkins crossed the try line for the Wallabies. The conversion wasn’t successful, and the Eagles led 15-14 with 60 seconds left to play.
Replacements Luke Hume and Hawley entered the game.
The final seconds were chaos as Australia mounted attack after attack, with plenty of tackles being made by the Eagles. With the ball over the try line, Hume desperately tried to get it out of bounds, but was given a yellow card for using his hands. Australian Peter Schuster dived over despite almost being tackled into touch by Hawkins. The try was awarded and Australia stole a 19-15 win at the death.
During their first pool match, the Eagles defeated France 19-17 in a thrilling comeback scoring their back-to-back tries. France then went on to lead South Africa 14-12 with 30 seconds on the clock. Cecil Africa scored a beautiful try to give the South Africans a 17-14 win.
The Eagles now face South Africa, last weekend’s champions, in their final pool clash today.
Check out behind the scenes videos from London 7s, presented by Gilbert Rugby.
Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. Australia
1 Carlin Isles (s)
2 Nick Edwards
3 Andrew Durutalo
4 Shalom Suniula
5 Zach Test
6 Matt Hawkins
7 Folau Niua
8 Sione Pila Taufa (s)
9 Luke Hume (s)
10 Blaine Scully (s)
11 Colin Hawley (s)
12 Brett Thompson
Men’s Eagles Sevens | vs. Australia
Tries: Thompson (3)
Men’s Eagles Sevens | Staff
Alex Magleby (Head Coach)
Andy Katoa (Manager)
Brian Green (Physio)
Hamish Kerr (Doctor)
Men’s Eagles Sevens | London Schedule
vs. South Africa – 11:02 A.M. ET Saturday, May 11
Men’s Eagles Sevens | London Results
USA 19 France 17
USA 14 Australia 19
Men’s Eagles Sevens | London Pools
Pool A: South Africa, USA, Australia, France
Pool B: New Zealand, Wales, Canada, Kenya
Pool C: England, Argentina, Fiji, Samoa