The USA has made the Bowl Final after defeating longtime rivals Canada 33-17 on Day Two of the Dubai 7s.
The Eagles started the Bowl semifinal determined to exert pressure, and that worked early on. They received the kickoff and quickly moved the ball to wing Nick Edwards, who started this game the way he’d ended the one before, scoring a try.
Up 7-0 the USA kept the pressure up, pinning Canada in their half, and eventually forcing the Canadians into touch for an attacking lineout. Mike Palefau took a long throw from a lineout and then showed some impressing sidestepping to race to the line.
That made it 14-0, and soon it was 19-0. Canada forced a knock forward at the restart (and perhaps were fortunate not to be penalized for taking out Zack Test in the air). But the Eagles shoved well on the scrum, Shalom Suniula harassed his opposite Phil Mack, and then Matt Hawkins gathered the ball, fended off Ciaran Hearn, and thundered over.
The first half ended 19-0 in the USA’s favor, and Canada hadn’t even been able to get out of their half.
The Eagles made it 26-0 seconds into the second half. Test helped win the kickoff, and a smart pass from Palefau to change direction set Hawkins up for a run, and the prop then fed Mark Bokhoven, who split the defense to go under the posts.
Canada didn’t give up, though. They started doing a better job of keeping the ball and surging through the gain line. Sean White scored, and then White’s break set up Sean Duke after a couple of USA penalties.
Off the restart the USA turned the ball over with another penalty, and seconds later White scored again. It was 26-17 and Canada won the ball from the restart again. Somehow the Americans stopped the attack, holding the ball up in front of their posts. Scrum USA, and hands out to Miles Craigwell, who cut back and went coast to coast to put the game away.
A bit of a worry in the second half, but the Eagles made the Bowl Final on the back of a first half of unceasing pressure.
Saturday has seen some much better performances by the USA. They are spreading better on defense and taking space away, and looked much more confident on attack. After scoring a mere three tries in three games on Friday, the USA have recorded 12 tries.
The USA will play Scotland in the Bowl Final at 9:18am ET, 6:18am PT. Scotland held off Portugal 19-17.
Tries: Edwards, Palefau, Hawkins, Bokhoven, Craigwell
Convs: Niua 2, Tiberio
Tries: White 2, Duke