Eagles fly into Hong Kong Bowl Final
The USA Men's Eagle Sevens team played their most complete game of rugby to date in the 2011-2012 HSBC Sevens World Series against Scotland in the Hong Kong Bowl semifinals. It was the Eagles' attack that stood out in the encounter, a balanced effort equal parts teamwork and individual brilliance.
Colin Hawley set the tone early, streaking more than 50 meters and scoring only 36 seconds after kickoff. The try came from great ball movement from deep in the USA's own half. Six Eagles touched the ball before Hawley's early try. Hawley himself had three touches on the move before his break. Excellent support running and anticipation from the Eagles would lead to two more scores before full time.
Palefau's score came from excellent handling and awareness started by his captain Shalom Suniula's quick tap penalty. Zack Test and Hawley combined well to advance into Scotland's 22 and Palefau powered over in traffic to get the Eagles up by two converted tries.
Scotland's James Fleming splintered the USA defense and Mark Cairns did the same right after half time to tie the game up.
The next USA score may be one of the best of the tournament so far. From inside their own 22, the Eagles went to deck a total of zero times and kept the Scotland defense scrambling. Five Eagles combined on nine passes to put Test into space and individual brilliance by Test cemented the score. The USA flyer put in four jukes to stand up the Scottish defenders and stretched out to score it.
The final USA try came when Nu'u Punimata capitalized on the chaos of a sloppy attacking scrum and darted five meters up the gut for the score.
The two halfbacks, captain Shalom Suniula who marshaled his troops exceptionally well on both sides of the ball and Tai Enosa whose elusive running and excellent distribution sharpened the Eagles' attack were quiet contributors.
The win was Alex Magleby's first as head coach of the USA. The team's performance was a team-defining win typified by an entrepreneurial attack and a very high work rate on and off the ball.
Tries: Hawley, Palefau, Test, Punimata
Cons: Suniula (4)
Tries: Cairns, Fleming
Cons: Gregor (2)
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