The Eagles snagged five HSBC Sevens World Series points in the Gold Coast, marking a strong start to their 2011-2012 campaign. With five points, the USA is tied for 11th place in the Series, moving up one spot from where they finished last season.
The Eagles punched their ticket to the bowl quarterfinals after a strong day one performance and took care of Papua New Guinea 24-5 on day two to advance to the bowl semifinal against Scotland. A 5-19 loss to Scotland ended the Eagles' Gold Coast run.
With the first of the nine-stop World Series under their belts, the Eagles will continue on to Dubai next weekend (December 2-3) and Port Elizabeth on December 9-10 to round out their 2011 tournament schedule.
USA v. Papua New Guinea (Bowl Quarterfinal)
The Eagles dominated the bowl quarterfinal against Papua New Guinea to ensure a spot in the bowl semis.
Shalom Suniula opened the USA's record in the quarters, but a quick answer from PNG shook the confidence gained from Suniula's score. USA veteran Nick Edwards crossed the line before halftime to give the Eagles 10-5 lead at the interval.
Mike Palefau once again showed he has a nose for the tryline by scoring less than a minute into the second half. More Eagles' points were to come.
Edwards created an opportunity and was at his wily best in the backline as the Eagles would go on to win the contest 24-5.
Tries: S. Suniula, Edwards (2), Palefau
Cons: Niua (2)
Papua New Guinea 5
Tries: Dougie Guise
USA v. Scotland (Bowl Semifinal)
The Eagles struggled to get the ball in their bowl semifinal matchup against Scotland. On the back foot for much of the first half, when the Eagles did make breaks, a lack of support saw the chances melt into the Australian sunshine. Folau Niua had a great break and rightfully slowed his run for support and found veteran Mike Palefau. Niua looped outside of Palefau, but the ball hit the deck and Scotland regained possession.
Some good individual performances and keen field awareness had Scotland up by 12 points at halftime. The USA was trying to find a way to stop the bleeding, but Scotland's Ross Miller found a gap and added another five points to his team's tally.
With two minutes left, Niua laced a grubber kick through to Colin Hawley on the wing and the former Cal Golden Bear gathered it for five USA points.
Scotland managed to keep the ball out of the Eagles' hands for much of the remaining time and the clock ticked down for the USA, forcing them to bow out of the tournament, but not before they claimed five World Series points for making it to the Bowl Semifinals.
Tries: Hidalgo-Clyne, Miller (2)
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