The USA 7s team will be very disappointed with their performance against Australia, because the game was there to win for them.
Instead, the USA lost 22-7 to Australia in the second pool match for both teams at the Gold Coast 7s in Queensland.
The Eagles started off well. They won the kickoff brilliantly through Zack Test, and while they ended up giving up possession on a dropped ball from Mark Bokhoven, they ended up on the plus side. Test made an outstanding tackle and poach to set up his backs, and Mike Palefau took a gap and galloped 70 meters to score.
But after that things went poorly. The restart went out on the full, and Australia easily spread the ball to Junior Rasolea, who shrugged off Test’s tackle attempt and scored in the corner.
The USA couldn’t control the kickoff again, and the Aussies easily punished them to take the lead, 10-7.
After that it seemed the Americans tightened up. They couldn’t control the ball, letting it fall out of contact, and Palefau sending a pass straight into touch.
Eventually they gave up a penalty that led to Greg Jeloudev slipping out of Matt Hawkins’s grasp for a try and a 17-7 lead.
The second half started promisingly for the Eagles. Test nabbed the kickoff and fed Hawkins, but the prop was thrown into touch. There followed a wild passage of play, with Australia running 90 meters only to get clipped into touch by a desperate Shalom Suniula tackle. The Eagles then had a long run, this time from Mile Craigwell.
But Craigwell couldn’t loose the pass to his support and was hauled down.
The USA kept up the pressure after that, but an unforced error by Test gave up the initiative.
Finally Australia scored one more to finish off the game … maybe. With 30 seconds to go the Aussies got a penalty in front of the posts. Lewis Holland, who had had a horrendous game kicking, opted to go for posts, and missed. The hooter went but referee Rasta Rasivhenge allowed one last play. The Eagles got won the 22 dropout (Test again) and worked their way down the field. Peter Tiberio grubbered the ball into the Australia zone for what seemed a sure try for Colin Hawley, but at the last second, the ball bounced up into Hawley’s forehead. No try, and a fitting end to a disappointing match for the USA.
The best to be said of the game was that every player got a little time on the field and some time with the ball. It didn’t seem like the USA players were using their support well enough, though.
Tries: Jenkins 2, Rasolea, Jeloudev
Lineup: Rasolea, Crook, Tuapou, Taylor, Jeloudev, Jenkins, Holland
Subs: Anderson, McMahon, Foley, Routledge, Fou
Lineup: Bokhoven, Test, Hawkins, Suniula, Niua, Palefau, Edwards
Subs: Craigwell, Hawley, Kelm, Tiberio, Enosa