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Ian Muir photo

The United States fell 26-19 to Canada in the final of Singapore 7s Sunday. The Eagles let Canada get out to 19-0 advantage in quick order, then exhausted all energy to come level in the second half before Canada mustered the game winner. 

Matt Mullins ran through an arm tackle from Ben Pinkleman and another from Folau Niua to break free. Perry Baker reeled him in as he crossed over for the try. Nathan Hirayama’s conversion attempt was missed, 5-0.

Danny Barrett won the next kickoff, and Canada was pinged for a penalty at the breakdown. Folau Niua’s kick to touch went awry, giving Canada possession again. Canada was patient in attack, and it was Harry Jones who rewarded the effort with a step and score.

The nightmare continued for the Eagles when Madison Hughes was blow back in a counter-ruck, and Stephen Tomasin, playing halfback, couldn’t get the ball out cleanly. When it squirted back, Canada scooped and scored. The try put Canada up 19-0 with little time left in the half.

The Eagles weren’t going to go quietly, though. First, Baker picked up a loose ball that spilled out of a ruck and raced in. Then Pinkleman chugged through a ruck and Niua crashed in to help, turning the ball over, and Tomasin took the edge. He would meet contact about 10 meters out, but dragged Canada across the line for the score. Only one of the conversions went in, so the USA trailed 19-12 at halftime.

33 seconds into the second half Baker’s second try would erase that deficit. On the first possession, he got the ball on a routine set of passes and burned John Moonlight up the touch line, and then he stepped back inside Hirayama for the score. Hughes stroked over the conversion, tying the game.

It appeared on the next possession that Tomasin may have scored the go-ahead, but it was called held up. Harry Jones pressured Hughes on the scrum and forces a wayward pass. Hirayama picked it up and set Canada on attack. After a long series of defense, Canada pierced an exhausted American line for the go-ahead, 26-19.

The Eagles won the restart, but Barrett knocked on immediately. Canada was allowed to drain the clock intentionally, then they won the scrum and ran around until time expired, clearing to touch for the win.