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New Zealand looked clinical in defeating the United States 17-5 in both team’s pool finale Saturday at Vancouver’s BC Place. The All Blacks were dominant in the breakdown, never letting the USA’s attack get into rhythm.
The result sees New Zealand top Pool D and setup a Cup Quarterfinal meeting with Samoa at 2:08 p.m. ET. The USA will face Pool A winner and first-place Fiji at 2:30. With Argentina, England and Kenya, the three teams ranked directly below the USA in the overall Series standings, missing out on the Cup rounds, the Eagles are guaranteed to be ranked at least fifth after the tournament’s conclusion.
It started off well enough for the USA, with the Eagles taking the first meaningful attacking possession. But they lost the ball in the first phase of a penalty play and New Zealand’s Sione Molia went the other way quickly for a long-range try. It was unconverted, leaving the USA down 5-0.
The All Blacks extended the lead after Danny Barrett was called for holding on in a tackle. They opted for an attacking lineout, won it, and Molia was put away for his second score on the wing. Perry Baker chased him to the corner, making the conversion difficult – 10-0.
The Eagles strung together several phases in an effort to gain a little momentum at the end of the half, but New Zealand’s defense shut them down at every turn. The USA getting to a breakdown a second too late saw the ball poached and Kurt Baker scoring to make it 17-0.
With the bench emptied and the result well in hand, Perry Baker finally got enough room on the wing to score the USA’s first points of the game.