Matt Hawkins’ Eagles started 0-1 at the Gold Coast 7s, losing 38-0 to New Zealand. The USA were competitive at the start, and after that it was one way traffic, with New Zealand dominating the Americans at the breakdown and the Eagles hurting themselves with errant and dropped passes.
New Zealand won the opening restart, but the USA got possession early and did well to hold onto it for the first two minutes. However, they didn’t manage to cross half field before losing the ball in a maul.
The Eagles pressured defensively and caused the All Blacks to drop the ball, and Hawkins, who started himself, flyhacked it into the try zone, resulting in a 22-drop. Folau Niua opted for a chip kick after the USA fielded the restart, and New Zealand made the Eagles pay for the poor decision when Waisake Naholo dotted down. Tomasi Cama hit the conversion.
Brett Thompson caught the ensuing kickoff, but there wasn’t enough support for him after he hit the ground. Pressure at the breakdown from New Zealand saw the ball squirt back to inside the USA five-meter line. Hawkins picked it up, and Niua rucked, but New Zealand committed an extra player, won the ball and Cama easily scored and converted.
Right after the restart, Zack Test took the ball into contact near the touchline, and New Zealand again brushed the Americans off, and Mikkelson sprinted up the weakside for a try, putting New Zealand up 19-0 going into halftime.
The Eagles stiffened up at the first ruck of the second half after having won the ball off the kickoff, but Tai Enosa took the ball into contact at the wrong place and wrong time, resulting in a turnover and a fourth try for the All Blacks, scored by Joe Webber.
The fifth New Zealand score came again off a turnover at the breakdown. Pat Blair and Ryan Matyas, earning their first caps, came onto the pitch for Niua and Jack Halalilo, respectively, and Blair wound up on the ground with the ball. But New Zealand again bowled the USA over and Mikkeslon took the ball 80-plus meters for his second try.
The final score of the shutout came short-range after Carlin Isles was called for a ruck infringement and Ambrose Curtis ran in. The game was mercifully ended by an American knock on.
Prop: Jack Halalilo
Hooker: Brett Thompson
Scrumhalf: Folau Niua
Flyhalf: Tai Enosa
Center: Zack Test
Wing: Nick Edwards
New Zealand 38
Tries: Naholo, Cama, Mikkelson (2), Webber, Curtis
Cons: Cama (4)