USA Men’s Sevens Advance To Fourth Straight Cup Final In Nail-Biter Over England
SYDNEY, AUS. – You don’t just win, you prepare to win. And that’s exactly what the Men’s Eagles Sevens did on their way to seal their fourth straight Cup Final appearance in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019.
In an incredible battle from start to finish, the United States battled heat, intensity and stress to overcome an English side who made them work for every ounce of space. But playing a masterful game, the Eagles Sevens remained calm and focused on every strategic movement to come away with a 14-7 victory.
This wasn’t a win easily handed to the United States. England had their own brilliant moments which meant the Americans had to use every English mistake to their advantage and keep themselves far away from penalties for a fighting chance.
After taking the first attack, the English defense held remarkably strong, managing space and timing to push USA further and further back. Then, a loose pass by Martin Iosefo was completely exploited by Dan Norton who made unstoppable moves on the outside to score, 0-7.
Three straight English penalties next gave the United States a tap and go which meant — so long as the Eagles Sevens held onto the ball — a try would be well within their sights. And so it was.
Within a few phases, Danny Barrett made it within inches of the line and managed to sneak a quick pass to Stephen Tomasin who worked the space for a try between the posts, 7 all.
Then, with a USA lineout inside the English half, opportunity knocked again.
Captain Madison Hughes with ball in hand tossed a dangerously loose pass to Carlin Isles but the speedster recovered. Surrounded by English defenders, the United States moved inch by inch until Ben Pinkelman finally spotted the gap to score another mid-posts, 14-7.
The second half opened with a frightening display by Englishmen Dan Norton. Norton broke wide open on the right flank but caught a foot on the touchline behind a Carlin Isles chase down and conceded possession back to USA.
Roughly three minutes remained in the game with plenty of time for England to come back but the Eagles Sevens were working the clock like magic.
Multiple line breaks, knock ons and tight defensive coverage by England kept the United States with possession but behind the tryline. Knowing they needed to milk as much time as possible, the Americans used every English mistake to slowly drive their set piece closer and closer.
Finally, after USA’s tireless work protecting the ball, England was called for a high tackle on a Martin Iosefo run, along with a second consecutive penalty, and the USA kicked the ball out right at full time.
Author: Aalina Tabani.