The USA national team showed off their cool striped kit as they took the field in their opening match of the USA 7s, but it was Australia’s neon yellow that shone the brighter Friday night.
The USA started with wide kick that Colin Hawley just pushed infield, but Australia still managed to secure the ball. As if this were a 15s game, Australia then opted to kick for touch, driving a ball into the USA corner. This was a smart move because, even as the Eagles won the lineout, they quickly turned the ball over.
Luke Hume was ankle-tapped (otherwise he would have been away), and then the USA turned the ball over in a maul. Australia pounced on it and Jesse Parahi was there to bull over under the posts. Slightly unorthodox from Australia, but effective, and a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles took the restart and challenged Australia, working the phases and hitting hard. But a turnover by Luke Hume just as they were getting into Australian territory put them on the back foot again.
Colin Hawley appeared to snatch the ball out of the ruck and was off free, but he was deemed to have done it illegally. Penalty to Australia, and they kicked for touch.
Australia then showed plenty of poise and patience in working back and forth, before Conn Foley inched his way through a half-tackle and stretched over for the try. The kick was good, and Australia led 14-0 with a minute to go in the first half.
Soon it was 19-0. Luke Hume had a small hole to take, but opted to pass over a much taller Australian player. Didn’t work, interception, and an easy try for Australia.
The second half started much better, with Jack Halalilo showing a nice burst of speed and then steamrolling a tackler. But the link up with his support went to ground.
The USA did get the ball back, and tried to send it out to Speedster Carlin Isles, but the Aussies were hip to that move and bottled him up. They got the ball back to Scully in midfield, but he was woefully isolated and had to give up the ball. No trouble for Lewis Holland.
Finally something for the USA fans to cheer about. From a scrum in their own 22 the ball they sent it to Scully in the center. The 15s fullback lofted a nicely-weighted kick over the defense. Isles grabbed it off the bounce and outpaced everyone to score.
The Eagles had another shot, but a pass to Nick Edwards that could have put him away was deemed forward – it was marginal, but the scoreline was not. A smoother, smarter Australia 26, a USA team that is not on the same page, 7.
Tries: Parahi, Foley, Cusack, Holland
Convs: Holland 3