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The Eagles got off to a hot start in hot Dubai. The game resulted in a 36-5 loss to Fiji, but Fiji was lucky to be tied 5-5 at halftime.
Brett Thompson tapped the opening kickoff back to his team. The possession threatened to produce a score, with some risky offloads paying off before Fiji managed to turn the ball over around their 22. The Eagles got the ball back almost immediately, and play ran for nearly three minutes before the second set piece. Folau Niua and Andrew Durutalo both carried the ball several times within that period, and the Eagled did well to win the breakdown.
The USA was awarded a scrum inside the attacking 22, and then a penalty off it, but a bad connection between Zack Test and Nick Edwards on the wing resulted in the ball hitting the deck and Samisoni Viriviri running in for the score. The conversion was missed.
The Eagles drew level on their next possession. Fiji didn’t get the restart 10 meters and committed a knock on and a penalty in quick succession. Niua kicked for touch, putting the Eagles back in the attacking 22. A phase after the set piece, Steven Tomasin picked from the base of a ruck and ran in. The conversion was missed, leaving the score tied 5-5 at halftime, though the US had dominated possession and territory.
Fiji’s second try came like its first, after an Edwards dropped pass resulted in a turnover. This time Fiji had to make a few passes, but a second critical mistake was turned into a second try for the opposition. Fiji’s Samu Saquwa extended the lead immediately off the next kickoff, tapping and hauling in the restart to go untouched under the posts and blow the game open. The conversion made, USA trailed 17-5 with about three-and-a half to play.
The Eagles, who controlled possession most of the first 10 minutes of the game, coughed the ball up again in a ruck. Folau Niua went down, and reserve Pat Blair couldn’t win the ruck by himself. Viriviri took the ball in for his second try.
With the American bench emptied, Fiji poured in 10 more points before the final hooter. Despite completing 42 passes, forcing Fiji to make 33 tackles, and camping the ball out in the attacking end almost the entire first half, the Eagles wound up on the wrong end of a lopsided loss.
Zac Mizell started the game, earning his first international 7s cap. Carlin Isles came on in the second half and nearly scored a try, but a perfect angle of pursuit by Fiji’s sweeper corralled the speedster.
Up next for the USA is England, who walloped Canada 47-7 earlier in the
day. The Eagles must win to keep their Cup Quarterfinal hopes alive. The
day ends with a bout with rival Canada.
Tries: Viriviri 2, Mawalu 2, Tuwai, Saqiwa
Cons: Kilinisau 3