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The USA were edged 19-15 in Round 2 of their London 7s pool play matches, giiving up a try well after the hooter to lose the match.
The Eagles scored quickly through young starter Brett Thompson.
Thompson had earlier made a break down the touchline, but Andrew Durutalo couldn’t hang onto the pass. The Eagles then defended superbly with Nick Edwards on the wing, creating a turnover. From there Shalom Suniula saw a gap on the outside and switched nicely with Durutalo. Zack Test followed on, and he found Thompson busting through the defense.
Thompson was ankle-tapped and only two meters away from the tryline, but somehow sidestepped two defenders to score a brilliant try.
Australia replied to take the lead 7-5, but Thompson again struck to give the Eagles a 10-7 halftime lead.
A restart error gave the Eagles a free kick on the halfway line. After a few phases, Suniula exploited some space out wide and almost connected with Test. Instead, an Aussie lineout. Thompson and Matt Hawkins flooded the Australian ruck, and that allowed Thompson to pick up the ball and dive over. Suniula’s conversion hit the upright, but the Eagles now led 10-7 at halftime.
Thompson made it a hat-trick one minute into the second half - Durutalo broke out of the 22 and fed his fellow forward for a long-range try. No conversions and the USA led 15-7.
Australia then ran in the replacements, and fresher legs started to tell. Ed Jenkins scored with a little more than a minute to go. And then, with the score 15-12 for the USA, Australia controlled possession for almost three minutes. Much of that was discussions about penalties. Desperate to stop Australia, Luke Hume was yellow-carded for using his hands in the ruck.
That was the extra space Australia needed, and Peter Schuster went over for the winner.
It was an end that reminded fans of the USA team of earlier this season - a good performance and a bad end. But the Eagles are 1-1 going into playing South Africa.
Tries: Schuster, Fa'alava'au, Jenkins
Convs: Stannard, Clark