USA vs France – USA Sevens Rugby

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Pool BSam Boyd Stadium03/02/201901:26 PM2019 USA Sevens

With both sides having lost to Argentina, for the winner, the second seed in Pool B awaited. For the loser, a spot in the challenge trophy laid ahead. Folau Niua kicked off for the Eagles to start the contest. The ball was deemed to have not gone ten meters, giving France a free kick at centerfield. A penalty against the Eagles soon after, gave France great attacking opportunity. The French attack eventually crossed the line but it did not result in points as the French player was held up in goal.

After some back and forth play, France looked to have the right setup to get in for points, but the Americans forced France to pass slowly down the chain and were able to ultimately hold the French at bay and force a knock-on turnover. On that possession, Danny Barrett found space on the wing and was able to hit Ben Pinkelman in support on an inside pass for the sixth-minute score. Madison Hughes was unable to connect on the conversion, making it 5–0 with the restart coming as the match headed into the seventh minute.

France won the resulting restart and faced stiff pressure, pushing the French back inside their own twenty-two. A high tackle penalty, gave France a reprieve, but an errant pass at the French ten-meter line went to touch right before the hooter, allowing an American lineout right before the hooter. The Eagles won the throw. The Eagles struggled to work into the French ten-meter line and narrowly avoided numerous possible turnovers. An intentional knock on by France led to a yellow card and set up an American lineout just shy of the French twenty-two. Again, the Eagles won the throw and ultimately found pay dirt with Martin Iosefo hurdling a tackle for the try behind the posts. Madison Hughes dutifully added the two points on offer to make it 12–0 at the break.

Following a memorial tribute to the late American rugby pioneer A. Jon Prusmack, the second half got under way with France still playing down a man. A penalty twenty-seven seconds into the half, saw a second yellow card for France, temporarily making it seven on five. With the advantage, again it was Iosefo founding space for his second try of the match. Madison Hughes added the conversion. The scores brought France back to six men and left five and a half minutes on the clock.

France continued to battle back, scoring an unconverted try with Sadek Deghmache in the right corner with just under four minutes to go. France closed the gap further after winning a penalty at the USA five-meter line and sending Thibault Mazzoleni in for the try in the left corner. With the conversion missed, team USA held a two-score lead.

A high tackle by France on Stephen Tomasin in the final minute gave the Americans the perfect chance to burn the clock and eek out the win. They kicked to touch and threw the ball in right as the clock ticked to zero. A fierce battle for possession followed, but the Eagles won the penalty and sent the ball to touch to come away with the quarterfinal birth.

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