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A nightmare tournament was mercifully ended by Wales Saturday, as the Eagles lost a fifth-straight match, 31-21, to bow out of the Dubai 7s with their lowest point total of any tournament under head coach Mike Friday, who started his fourth season at the helm over the weekend.
Team USA Spotted Wales a three-try lead in the first half. The Dragons took the early advantage with a try. The second followed a wild handling error, as captain Madison Hughes bobbled a routine pass that bounced straight into the defense's hands. Wales struck quickly, as Stephen Tomasin got turned inside on the wing, setting the last Welsh man free.
On the ensuing kickoff, Martin Iosefo skied for the ball but couldn't reel it in. Wales caught the fortuitous bounce and went the other direction for a third score, making it 19-0.
It appeared the USA might get one back before halftime when Wales committed a midfield penalty right up against the break. Tomasin made a dash for the corner, but knocked on in contact as he was grounding the ball, resulting in a scoreless half for the Eagles.
Wales kept the momentum into the second half, scoring at the outset to extend the lead to 24-0. Finally, the Eagles saw some fortune when reserve Maka Unufe looped Tomasin on the left wing and raced for the first American ty of the game. Carlin Isles backed that up with a flash of his old self, stepping and burning for a long distance score.
Both were converted, leaving the USA down 10 with 90 seconds left. Wales slammed the door shut on any comeback hopes, immediately scoring off the kickoff to put the game out of reach at 31-14. Naima Fualaau, who came to Dubai as the 13th man, got to play because of Perry Baker’s concussion, and he started this one in Folau Niua’s stead. The other debutant, Joe Schroeder, would notch his first try in garbage time.