USA vs Spain – USA Sevens Rugby
28 - 17
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Pool CSam Boyd Stadium03/03/201801:04 PM2018 USA Sevens

In a match just for pride, team USA stole the opening kick and put the first points on the board a mere 27 seconds in as Folau Niua slipped by defenders for a try beneath the posts. He converted his own try with ease. Niua’s restart kick, however, did not go ten meters, gifting Spain an opportunity to tie things up. But sloppy ball carrying from Spain gave the ball to the Eagles deep in American territory. Following a penalty and a cracking run down the right wing by Danny Barrett, the Eagles added a second try, this time from Joe Schroeder earning his first start since the Sydney bronze-medal match. Niua added the conversion for a 14–0 lead.

But, as was the case after the previous score, Niua’s usually sure restart was off and went directly to touch. Once more facing a Spanish free-kick, the American defense was back on its heels. This time, the eagles could not hold Spain scoreless, conceding a try in the right corner when Schroeder was just barely beaten to the loose ball in the tryzone.

Spain quickly added a second through Francisco Hernandez when the Spanish found space on the left wing. Hernandez’s conversion made the match uncomfortably close for the partisan crowd at 14–12. But Maka Unufe’s eighty meter try and Niua’s tenth consecutive made conversion of the tournament put the lead back to two scores. At halftime.

As the first half came to a close, Coach Friday began to sub off some of his more frequent starters, already having opted to go with Joe Schroeder and Cody Melphy in the starting lineup. The second half started with Maka Unufe, Perry Baker, and Danny Barrett each earning rest. In their places were Malon Aljiboori, Martin Iosefo, and Carlin Isles. Still, captain Ben Pinkelman and Folau Niua remained in the match.

The Eagles did not look quite as crisp in the second half, but even a slightly dull team USA still has Carlin Isles to sprint past everyone in the sport, which he did to extend the lead to 28–12. The conversion, surprisingly enough, was successfully taken by Isles for his first career conversion on the Series.

On full time, Spain managed a consolation score through Inaki Villanueva. The points did not alter the score or the path of the tournament. The problem for team USA, however, is that Joe Schroeder went down with an apparent right shoulder injury, which may well leave the United States needing to call in their thirteenth: USA 28, Spain 17.