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The United States finished sixth at the inaugural Vancouver 7s, falling 31-19 to Samoa in the Plate Final. After an electric but sapping overtime Cup Quarterfinal loss to Fiji, the Eagles mustered a dominant 38-12 win over Wales in the Plate semi before running out of gas against Samoa.
The result further entrenches the Eagles in fifth place and sees them create some separation between themselves and Argentina. They were tied in points coming into Canada, with the Eagles sitting in fifth and Argentines in sixth because of point differential, but the latter didn’t make the top eight and now 17 points separate them.
The Welsh contest wasn’t much of one, with the Eagles leading 26-0 at halftime and 31-0 before Wales got on the board. Baker again scored a double, his third of the tournament. Madison Hughes, Folau Niua, Nate Augspurger and Martin Iosefo also dotted down. Hughes slotted three three conversions and Augspurger added another.
The Samoa game was much more of a battle, and one in which the Eagles would see much less of the ball. Samoa dominated possession early and got up two tries. Finally the USA mounted a substantial attack with the help of a Samoan penalty, and Garrett Bender barged through the defense to set up a Hughes try, making the score 12-7 at halftime.
Manu Samoa poured in two more tries to start the second half. Hughes got a second try to pull the Eagles within a pair of scores at 26-14, but with the bench emptied and energy running low from the starters still on the field, they gave up another score and couldn’t get close again.
Mike Friday’s charges now have nearly a month to recover before Hong Kong.