USA vs Samoa – USA Sevens Rugby

24 - 7
Pool BSam Boyd Stadium03/03/201705:37 PMUSA Sevens

For team USA, a win over Samoa was likely the piece necessary to secure consecutive cup quarterfinal births. Prior to Coach Friday’s arrival to the USA fewer than three years ago, matches against Samoa were assumed losses. Since Friday took over, team USA has gone 5–2 against Samoa. Mind you, the series record before then was 21–3 in Samoa’s favor.

The United States, known for dominant kickoffs behind the sure boot of Folau Niua failed to grab the opening kick. It proved not to be a problem as the Eagles soon got the ball back and demonstrated offensive brilliance before the jubilant crowd, ultimately sending Sydney dream team selection Danny Barrett across for the first try of the match. Captain Madison Hughes added the conversion. Despite a second restart falling into Samoan hands, the Eagles once more found ball in hand after Barrett and Andrew Durutalo forced a turnover. The physical playmakers soon added their power to the offensive phase as well when Durutalo hit Barrett for his second try in the far right corner. The resulting restart, though once more caught by a Samoan, was perfectly placed to favor team USA, as the Samoan player soon landed in touch. A short while later, Samoa finally made great territory after breaking tackles by both Niua and Hughes. Speedburner Perry Baker got back in time to prevent the try, instead forcing a knock on just ten meter shy of the USA line. As the hooter sounded, Hughes fed the scrum. His big boys up front got the job done in the scrum and Niua was able to boot to touch to end the half and escape with the 12–0 advantage.

In the second half, team USA kept the pressure on, this time with a try for Niua. Hughes added the conversion to pull ahead 19–0. Samoa refused to go down without a fight as Tila Mealoi got his side on the board with a try in the far left corner. Samoa committed an infraction on the ensuing kick, giving USA a free kick. In no hurry to speed things up, Niua took the kick extremely slowly. The Eagles were soon once more on attack but a pass from Martin Iosefo deep in Samoan territory cost possession. With two minutes left, Samoa still had enough time to at least pull a draw. The Eagles managed to slow things down by earning a scrum just inside their own half. The Americans won the scrum and soon earned a penalty for the high tackle. With thirty seconds remaining, Niua kicked for touch. The Americans won the lineout, and instead settling for the win, they pushed for one more score, leading to a hat trick for Danny Barrett and another impressive conversion to the ever-growing resume of Hughes.