It was not a pretty Hong Kong 7s semifinals for North American teams, as England and Australia put Canada and the USA to the sword.
Canada, uncharacteristically, could not control the ball at critical moments, and struggled to find space for their attackers in losing 22-12 to England.
The USA were thrashed by Australia, and while they got no favors from the referee, they did not use the ball well on offense, and were exposed on too many odd-man rushes and bad matchups.
Australia scored in the opening seconds from the kickoff. The USA had a shot to come back, but a very ill-advised kick into the Australian 22 after a penalty tap ended up giving the Aussies an good matchup out wide, and another try.
Down 14-0 the USA had a free kick just outside of the Australian 22, and again they kicked, and lost it.
Australia was very strong defensively and ramped it up in the second half. They might have been in from the side a couple of times, and they might have failed to released the tackled player before stealing the ball a couple of times, but it was also clear they knew how to play the ref, and the USA did not.
The Eagles also could not hold onto the ball in the rucks, and turned the ball over by being pushed into touch, or with knock-ons. Cruelly, Australia got a try when Amy Daniels had clearly recovered a kicked ball and touched it onto her own tryline. But that didn't change the fact that Australia looked very, very sharp, and the USA has some work to do.
The Eagles and Canada drop out, then, with Canada giving up the challenge trophy they won in Dubai. England and Australia play for that trophy now.