Fiji vs USA – USA Sevens Rugby
7 - 19
Cup Semi FinalsSam Boyd Stadium03/04/201801:12 PM2018 USA Sevens

In a rematch of the Sydney quarterfinal, team USA will look to repeat the success they’ve had in recent years against one of the best teams in the world. A win would send the United States to a fourth-ever finals appearance and first-ever at the USA Sevens.

Danny Barrett got his hands on the opening kick and almost came away with the steal, but lost it forward in the process. Fiji’s Alasio Sovita Naduva turned on the jets and looked to be gone down the right touchline. Naduva was fast, but Perry Baker was faster, dragging him to touch just outside the USA five-meter line. The Eagles won the lineout and then earned a penalty in the middle of the field seven meters from their own try line. Folau Niua kicked the ball to touch, gaining twenty meters in the process.

The Eagles again won the throw and garnered a penalty in the process. Niua’s kick to touch took the Americans inside the Fijian half. The attack finally ended when Ben Pinkelman’s pass to Danny Barrett on the outside went forward as a result of a tackle.

Shortly after the scrum, Fiji won a penalty and kicked to touch at midfield. That possession was the one that finally took the goose eggs of the board as Sevuloni Mocenacagi stiff armed Martin Iosefo and ran forty meters for the try under the post. Vatemo Ravouvou added the conversion, sending the United States to a 7–0 deficit.

The Americans came painfully close to tying it up at the end of the half with possession inside the Fiji twenty-two. The Fijians were disorganized as the ball was loose on the deck, knocked back by Fiji. Ben Pinkelman tried to scoop it up and hit Barrett on the outside for the score, but Pinkelman just knocked the ball forward in the process, ending the half with Fiji ahead.

The second half started with Fiji contesting the restart, but knocking it on. The United States was then backed up deep, but eventually got the ball out to Perry Baker on the left wing. Baker was forced back into his own goal, but still managed to dance around three defenders, explode through a sliver of daylight and go one meters for the score under the post. Niua tied it up with the conversion.

The restart came with 4:37 left in the match. Martin Iosefo perfectly snagged the restart kick. The ball worked back inside to Niua who forced an opening with an offload attempt to Maka Unufe in support. The offload was a hair too low for Unufe, leading to a Fiji scrum instead of a try. Fiji won the scrum but a pass to the center standing on the five-meter line was dropped, giving the Eagles an attacking scrum five meters out.

The scrum did not lead to points because the Fijian defense swarmed and forced the Americans to retreat. But a well-timed penalty sent a Fijian to the bin and moments later watched Matai Leuta in for the try. Niua’s conversion crossed the bar at 2:10 left.

Up 14–7, the United States kicked the restart with 1:38 left. Baker got a hand on the restart, but could not bring it in. The Americans forced a turnover at centerfield and soon got the Perry Baker try in the corner from none other than Perry Baker. Of serious concern was that Maka Unufe remained on the deck after the play and came off with an apparent lower-leg injury. Niua could not add the conversion, but the United States remained in front 19–7 with 29 seconds left in the match.

As the hooter sounded, Fiji had the ball, but the USA had the lead. Fiji tried to get the consolation score, but Niua had none of it, tackling him into touch. USA 19, Fiji 7. The result sends the United States to its fourth-ever final and first on home soil.

The United States will close the tournament at 4:30 (PT) against the winner of Argentina-South Africa. Fiji will face the loser of that match for the bronze medal at 4:00 (PT).