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USA Men's Eagles Sevens Shuts Out Samoa In 5th Straight Podium Finish

By Paul D. Bowker | March 03, 2019, 8:44 p.m. (ET)

(C) Carlin Isles celebrates with members of the USA men's eagles sevens at the USA Sevens Tournament on March 3, 2019 in Las Vegas.


For the second consecutive year, the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens finished off the USA Sevens Tournament in winning fashion.

2016 Olympian Ben Pinkelman scored on two tries in the championship match, leading the Eagles to a 27-0 victory over Samoa in the championship game of the USA Sevens tournament in Las Vegas.

The victory marked the Eagles’ first championship since last year’s tournament in Las Vegas. This win also made it five consecutive podium finishes for the Eagles.. No other team has reached the medal round in all five HSBC World Rugby Sevens tournaments this season.

“The one at home is the one we really wanted,” team captain Madison Hughes, a 2016 Olympian, said on the TV telecast following the game.

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The U.S. is in first place in the world rugby sevens standings in a season in which the top four teams lock down berths in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

In addition to Pinkelman, tries in the title game were scored by Hughes, Matai Leuta and Maceo Brown.

The Eagles began quickly and strongly against Samoa. Pinkelman and Leuta each scored tries in the first half as the U.S. coasted to a 10-0 lead. Hughes added another try in the first minute of the second half.

The Eagles won two of their three matches in the preliminary round, defeating Kenya and France, and losing to Argentina. The U.S. defeated South Africa 29-10 in the quarterfinals and New Zealand 24-19 in the semifinals. The win in the semifinals not only put the Eagles in the championship match but put them ahead of New Zealand in the standings. The two countries were tied heading into this tournament.

New Zealand defeated Argentina to win the bronze medal but fell behind the U.S. in the standings.

The next stop on the world tour is March 9-10 in Vancouver, Canada.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.