The USA lost 19-12 to New Zealand in the Tokyo 7s Cup Quarterfinals Sunday in Japan in a game where they lost more than a game.
The Eagles started very well, corralling the All Black 7s and making their tackles. Finally they forced a New Zealand knock-on, and Zack Test gathered the rolling ball and raced 40 meters into the New Zealand 22.
Tim Mikkelson stopped Test, but the USA support was there in the person of Matt Hawkins and they recycled well. After a couple of phases, Test got the ball back and scythed around and through New Zealand defenders to score. Shalom Suniula was good with the kick and the USA led 7-0.
The Eagles were offside on the restart, but handled the New Zealand attack well. They defended for a long period and even drove the World Series leaders back. But finally Ben Lam created a gap and took it, slicing through for a try and a 7-7 tie.
Near the end of the half, Belgium Tuatagaloa found a gap and was away. He could have scored, but sent a pass infield to Mikkelson to get the touchdown under the corner. 14-7 New Zealand at halftime.
The All Black 7s made it 19-7 in short order, sending Gillies Kaka in at the corner.
USA Head Coach Alex Magleby made his second-half changes early, putting Luke Hume and Carlin Isles on to spark the offense. Isles tried to find some space, but it was a smart ruck that put his team on the front foot, allowing Colin Hawley to pick and run well into the New Zealand half. Hawley found Isles in support, and the USA speedster was hit very hard in a head-to-head hit from Lote Raikabula. Play was stopped (but not, surprisingly, for a penalty on Raikabula), and Isles was eventually escorted from the field with a possible concussion.
It is quite possible he will play no more part in the tournament.
The USA gave up a penalty after that play and another later, and were rightfully complaining to the ref that New Zealand were taking far too long to commence play. No call against the Series leaders, but the Eagles did eventually get the ball back, and Folau Niua sent a grubber kick that Test chased to the very, very back of in-goal.
Somehow Test managed to touch the ball down even as his body hurtled over the dead ball line. In was a superb try, but scored as time was up. Certainly had Isles not been injured, and New Zealand had not been allowed to wait out the clock, there might have been time. As it was, the USA was close, but not close enough.
Tries: Test 2
New Zealand 19
Tries: Lam, Mikkelson, Kaka
Convs: Kaka 2
The USA now faces Fiji in the Plate Semis at 24 minutes past midnight EDT, 9:24PM PDT.