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After going 1-2 in Day One of the HSBC Dubai Sevens, the United States blew out Russia, 40-5, in the Trophy Quarterfinals. Defense and winning the restarts were key for the Eagles as the USA limited Russia’s possession and barely allowed its opponent to enter their territory.
The scoring started immediately as Danny Barrett claimed the first kickoff and the ball was spun out wide to Perry Baker. The intrepid wing raced to the corner and down the sideline for the try. Madison Hughes converted the score for the 7-0 lead.
On the restart, Barrett got the ball once again and the USA worked the ball down to the 22. After an Russian penalty, Baker found space on the wing, but was knocked down. With a heads-up play, Baker offloaded to Andrew Durutalo for the try.
The Eagles again dominated the restart as Hughes was able to secure the ball and kick downfield. After a chase, the ball was centered and Martin Iosefo stretched into the tryzone for the score with defenders draped all over him. Hughes made the easy kick for the 19-0 advantage.
As before, the USA recovered the ensuing kickoff and Baker scored his second try of the match and 80th in his career after some nifty moves following a pick and go from the back of a ruck.
Russia was finally able to cross the midfield line in the final minute of play, but a turnover inside the USA endzone ended any hope for points in the first half. As the whistle blew, the Eagles led 26-0.
At halftime, USA head coach Chris Brown told his players that everything was going according to plan against the Russians. Brown emphasized defense in the second half by increasing the line speed.
The second half began the same as the first as the USA won the restart. The ball wound up in Barrett’s hands and he stiff-armed the defender into Russian territory. A cross kick by Folua Nuia into the corner of the endzone saw an opportunity for either Baker or Hughes for the score. The ball bounced in between both players and Hughes dotted it down. The captain added to the total with the conversion from the corner to make the tally, 33-0.
Russia sustained its second significant possession of the match after finding touch to the USA 22. The Bears moved the ball from sideline to sideline, but handling and passing errors cost Russia the possession.
With less than two minutes remaining, an Eagle lineout close to midfield was passed to Don Pati. The standout Ute stepped and dummied his defender for the long distance strike. Stephen Tomasin tacked on the conversion for the 40-0 score.
With less the a minute remaining, Russia had one last opportunity to prevent the shutout. With the aid of a couple USA penalties, the ball was set at the five meter line. Alec Gletzer stole the ball, but another penalty gave it right back. Using quick ball, Russia spun it wide where Kevin Akuabu dived for the line and try.
With the 40-5 win, the USA moves on to the Trophy Semifinal against Kenya.