Canada has defeated the USA 15-14 in pool play at the Rugby World Cup 7s.
One key error on offense and three on defense killed the USA chances as the Eagles fall to 1-1.
The game started perfectly for Canada, when the kickoff was knocked back into Phil Mack’s arms and he was away and in the corner. The USA left a big hole, and that resulted in a 5-0 deficit.
The Eagles did a little bit better on the next possession. With the ball at their goal line Zack Test launched a kick downfield that bounced nicely for Matt Hawkins. The big man had support but tried to beat Mack on the wing. The tiny Mack was good for it, though, and tackled Hawkins into touch.
Weak tackling by the American set up a long, weaving run by Nathan Hirayama, and that eventually set up a try for Sean Duke. Hirayama missed the difficult conversion, but Canada led 10-0.
The Eagles worked the ball well on the next restart, running through several phases, but not breaking through the Canadian defense. But then a nice offload out of contact from Nick Edwards and a rumble by Andrew Durutalo got them going. Zack Test tested Canada on the weak side and then found Durutalo. The big prop seemed away, but perhaps didn’t have the gas to finish it off. Tired or not, Durutalo lofted an audacious pass inside to Edwards, who scored under the posts. 10-7 with the conversion.
The Eagles defended well enough to force a turnover and in a scrappy end to the half almost broke away for a try. But it wasn’t to be and the ball was booted into touch with Canada up by three.
The USA started the second half with Folau Niua kicking the ball straight into touch, giving Canada a free kick at midfield.
Canada came close to turning the ball over a couple of times, but they managed to get the ball out to Duke, and he was in at the corner. Canada 15 USA 7.
The Eagles got seven back, though. Matt Hawkins spotted a lazy Canadian runner offside at the ruck and passed right into him. Penalty to the USA and after another, they sent the ball wide to Maka Unufe, who made a nice break, and then lofted a ball out of contact to Brett Thompson, who was in around and under the posts. 15-14.
It was almost 15-19 as Matt Hawkins booted a loose ball ahead. But the weird-shaped ball didn’t cooperate. Shalom Suniula tried to grubber for Thompson, but the ball went into touch.
With a minute to go, the Eagles got a key chance with a scrum at their 22. Head Coach Alex Magleby put Carlin Isles on the field, but Canada saw that coming and bottled him up. Unufe got caught in contact with a man outside. Canada won the scrum, and booted it out.
An interesting game, and the USA lost the game because of two mistakes on the kickoffs, and not backing their ability to move the ball.
Canada, as usual, made every chance pay.
As a result, the USA are basically assured of not making the Top 8 at the World Cup. They would have to beat New Zealand, and likely beat them quite well, to advance.
Canada, however, are in with a chance as they are 1-1 with Georgia to play. Canada will need to blow Georgia out, however, to get a wild card spot.
Tries: Edwards, Thompson
Convs: Suniula 2
Tries: Mack, Duke 2
Thyssen de Goede
Referee Anthony Moyes