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New Zealand emphatically defeated the United States 59-0 to take Pool A in the Atlanta 7s. The tournament leaders starved the Eagles of possession and showed tremendous skill in a dominant performance over the tournament hosts.
New Zealand struck first to take a 5-0 lead three minutes into the game. Ruck defense continues to be a problem for the United States as Kayla McAllister picked up and ran straight through the ruck for a score down the right sideline.
The Kiwis won the ensuing kickoff but were a little sloppy in their execution. Nevertheless, their tireless work rate was on display throughout the first half. McAlister broke the line again and was tackled right before the goal line. She offloaded to an oncoming teammate for a 12-0 lead.
New Zealand continued to dominate possession and territory, winning every kickoff after a score. Some sloppy passing prevented the visitors from getting on the board again until Portia Woodman drove through a ruck, stripped the ball and ran right through the Eagle defense for a score under the posts. Woodman added one more right before halftime as New Zealand showed tremendous class, swiftly spinning the ball side to side until Woodman dotted down for a 26-0 halftime lead.
The second half continued to see New Zealand dominate play, as the Kiwis took the opening kickoff down the field in a couple phases, once again finished by McAllister. Some lackluster defense by the Eagles did not help the cause as New Zealand went in for three more scores to lead 52-0.
The tournament leaders put an exclamation point on the victory with a try at the final whistle. Ruby Tui scored her 2nd of the game after the Eagles bounced off tackles. The United States struggled to gain possession and inadequate defense opened the floodgates for the Kiwis.
New Zealand’s pace and execution proved too much for a seemingly tired and uninspired Eagles side. Ric Suggitt will not be happy with his team’s performance but they will have a chance to right the ship as they head into the Cup quarterfinals tomorrow.