The USA Falcons made it to the final of the Serevi RugbyTown 7s Saturday in Glendale after they shocked the professional touring side Samurai in the semis.
The Falcons, made up mostly of USA players and those pushing for a spot entered the game seeded second out of their pool after losing to the Serevi Selects.
With Samurai dominating Pool B, it seemed the Falcons were going to have a tough time of it.
But the American team started well, retaining their kickoff and putting Samurai under pressure. Shalom Suniula broke through on a long run, but he was caught. The Falcons were there in support and eventually Colin Hawley dove over for the try and a 7-0 lead.
Hawley was also very active on defense, and his physical tackling halted at least three Samurai scoring opportunities.
Later in the first half, some more good teamwork, with Mike Palefau active in attack, produced a try for Zack Test and the Falcons led 14-0.
The Samurai replied with a beautiful movement almost halted by Luke Hume. The half ended with the score 14-5 - Samurai's missed conversion mightily important.
In the second half Samurai powered through some desultory Falcons tackling to make it 14-12. But right off the restart the USA team scored. - Test went high to win the kick and batted it down to Maka Unufe, who raced 50 meters to paydirt.
The Falcons held on from there. Hawley halted one long run with a key tackle, and Suniula was right there to ruck over. Samurai had one more shot, and they took it, but they also took to long. The final whistle went right after their try.
USA Falcons 21 Samurai 17.
"We executed better than we did against Serevi," said Suniula after the game. "We felt we had a good foundation to build on, but we also had a lot more ball. We have been practicing the restarts a lot and they paid off."
Meanwhile Serevi shut out Tiger Rugby 26-0, behind a brilliant performance from brothers Fili Botitu and Isi Daveta.
“We know that if we play good defense, we have players who can score from 95 meters out,” said Waisale Serevi of his team. “We were down to six players, but a lot of players don’t realize, we really only defend with six players. They didn’t kick, so we didn’t need the sweeper. We were able to weather that and score and that was a big thing for us.”