A disappointing end to the USA's Nelson Mandela 7s campaign, as the Eagles dropped a 22-12 decision to Canada during the Bowl semifinals.
Missed tackles and unrealized scoring opportunities marked the Eagles' shortcomings, while Canada cleaned up their act after a lackluster quarterfinal win against Morocco to outshine their North American counterparts.
Sean Duke led the way for Canada, scoring two individual tries and setting up another. The 23-year-old scored less than a minute in when the ball worked to Duke on the wing and he took his chances around the corner. A nice swerve kept Nick Edwards out of arms' reach, and boot-swiping Shalom Suniula fell just short as Duke crossed the line, 5-0.
The USA missed an opportunity to score on the next kickoff, when Peter Tiberio made a nice break into Canadian territory. As the ball ricocheted off the sideline, the finishing pass from Mark Bokhoven went astray and into touch.
From the Canadian lineout, the USA managed to steal possession and work some tight passes around the breakdown. Zach Test finally had a go on the sideline, beat a diving Nanyak Dala and then sidestepped around Lucas Hammond for the centered try that Shalom Suniula converted, 7-5.
Hammond redeemed himself on the very next series, slipping a tackle off the kickoff then getting the ball to Duke. Streaking across the defense, Duke hit Harry Jones switching back inside at full pace for the try and conversion, 12-7.
With time expiring, Canada sent the subsequent kickoff to touch deep in the USA's zone. The lineout put the ball back on the Eagles' tryline, where the team tried to run it out. An infraction set up a Canadian scrum on the five-meter line, and if it wasn't for the solid American forwards, then it could have been another try right then and there.
Instead, Canada was penalized in the grapple and Bokhoven sent the ball downfield as the whistle sounded. The ball landed in Duke's hands but changed possession as the teams realigned. Still in the USA's end, Bokhoven was eventually penalized for not releasing, Canada tapped through the mark and sent it to 18-year-old Hammond, who took advantage of a missed tackle from Test to score. 17-7 into the half.
From the second-half kickoff, Mike Palefau split the defense to put Miles Craigwell into space. The wing got the Eagles to Canada's 40 meter, but not with consequence. A monster hit forced Craigwell to knock-on in the tackle, and he had to leave the field with a shoulder or perhaps head injury.
But the effort wasn't for naught. Canada got the scrum but again the Eagle forwards took control. As the set piece spun, Matt Hawkins kicked the ball out of Hammonds' hands and sent Canada retreating trying to save possession. The USA came out with it, hit Palefau, who dummy-switched back inside for some yardage. He eventually hit Andrew Durutalo bursting onto the switch for the try, 17-12.
As the clock wound down, the USA had a final shot to tie it up. Canada was awarded penalty in their half and kicked to touch, but the subsequent lineout wasn't straight. The USA found themselves with a scrum near midfield. Another solid set piece established a nice platform for Tiberio to loop around his backs for a linebreak, but support was slow to the tackle and Canada poached in the breakdown.
The USA paid dearly for that lapse, as the ball worked out to Duke, who kicked ahead when he saw no one was sweeping, gathered his own ball and outraced Test for the try, 22-12.
Canada advances to the Bowl final against Scotland, which beat Argentina 21-14 in their semifinal.
Tries: Duke 2, Jones, Hammond
Tries: Test, Durutalo