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The Eagles started their third and final pool game in South Africa like they were still hungover from the 43-5 shellacking Fiji delivered earlier in the day, and allowed Namibia to take the early 7-0 lead.
The Americans responded quickly when Miles Craigwell found playmaker Shalom Suniula, who then deferred to a switching Colin Hawley for the rebuttal try. The conversion was missed, leaving the Eagles down 7-5.
Namibia’s next possession resulted in a quick turnover and the Eagles were awarded with a penalty, which prop Mark Bokhoven quick-tapped off of and bullied his way into the try zone for the go-ahead score. Suniula hit the conversion, making it 12-7 in favor of the Eagles.
With the half nearly over, Hawley stole the ensuing restart, and the Eagles looked to threaten, but turned the ball over. Now in extra time, Namibia raced nearly the full length of the field before surrendering possession back the USA. The Eagles then lost the ball in attack again, and Namibia penetrated the American defense once more, but committed a knock on just before touching down a leveling try.
“I don’t what we were doing in the first half. We weren’t really playing our game,” said Eagles coach Al Caravelli. “Taking nothing away from Namibia, I think we were playing down to our competition, and we can’t do that.”
Caravelli made a couple personnel changes at halftime and reaped immediate rewards, as reserve Roland Suniula scored two tries to open the half and erase all doubt that the Eagles might drop their third in a row. For good measure, Mile Pulu added another near full time, giving the Eagles a 33-7 victory.
Despite a sluggish start, the USA managed to wake up and impose its will on Namibia in the second half, and looked rather impressive in the restarts, with several kickoffs being poached in the Eagles favor. Caravelli & co. now turn their attention to recovery for Saturday, where they’ll meet France in the Bowl quarterfinals.
Tries: Bokhoven, Hawley, Pulu, R. Suniula (2)
Cons: S. Suniula (4)
Tries: Melrick Africa
Cons: Howard Titus
Cons: Howard Titus