The USA is in the Bowl Final of the Hong Kong 7s after dispatching Scotland 28-14 in a game that really wasn't that close - the Eagles putting in an entertaining and committed performance.
USA controlled the kickoff and did a good job of working the ball one way, and then, when Rocco Mauer had nowhere to go, sending it back the other way.
Zack Test cut through and then fed Colin Hawley in support, and he broke away from one tackler to score. Shalom Suniula’s kick was good and the USA led 7-0 after 90 seconds.
The Eagles thought it was going to be 14-0 when an interception block by Andrew Durutalo fell to Rocco Mauer’s hands. The ball clearly went backward, but somehow it was called a knock-forward. Mauer ran 65 meters untouched, but the ball came back for a scrum.
The Eagles got the ball back but had nothing on and Hawley booted a long kick to the corner. It was smart play and the Eagles at least made Scotland work for their yardage.
Eventually the Eagles did get the try they wanted. A free kick from a scrum was taken quickly by Suniula and the support was there. The captain popped a pass to Test, who linked with Hawley, who showed quick hands to set free Mike Palefau coming at pace. It was good play in tight quarters and the USA led 14-0.
With no time left in the half Scotland got one back, as James Fleming pushed off a lackluster tackle attempts from Mauer and showed his own flash of pace to go in under the posts. The movement all started from a penalty off the restart, so two mistakes, a penalty and a missed tackle, gave seven points back.
In the second half, Scotland received the kickoff and easily kept possession. In fact in some ways their try to start the second half was just like the USA’s to sTart the first. USA Coach Alex Magleby told the Eagles at halftime that they should be thinking it’s a tie game, and now it was.
The Americans produced a lovely team try that saw several excellent passes, and catches, out of the tackle. Palefau, Durutalo and Test combined to finally allow Test to sidestep his way over. This was a USA record 49th try for Test, and with the conversion, the Eagles led 21-14.
The Americans then had an excellent chance to extend the lead, Pressure defense from the restart sent the Scots backward, and forced a knock-on right in front of the posts.
The scrum was sloppy, but the USA kept the ball and while the Eagles had an advantage for offside, Nu’u Punimata just picked the ball in the ruck and dove over for the try. Conversion good, 28-14 USA.
The USA had one more shot, but couldn’t quite score – Folau Niua was held up – but they closed out the match well. In the end, apart from a couple of mistakes, they dominated Scotland, and were unlucky not to have scored twice more.
The USA will face Kenya in the Bowl Final after Kenya thumped France in the other Bowl semi.
That game will be at 5:30pm local time, 5:30am ET, 2:30am PT.
Tries: Hawley, Palefau, Test, Punimata
Convs: Suniula 4
Convs: Gregor 2