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Carlin securing possession. Martin Seras Lima photo

Paced by five tries from speedsters Carlin Isles and Perry Baker, the United States scratched out a fifth-straight Cup Quarterfinal appearance with a 2-1 day one in Wellington, New Zealand. They opened with a 24-20 win over Samoa, then fell flat against England to the tune of 19-5 before finishing with a 29-21 defeat of France.

The USA got up early via two tries from Baker and held a two score lead twice in the match, but Samoa busted out a 10-point run late to take a 20-19 lead with just a few second left on the clock. A flurry of penalties on what seemed like Samoa’s last-gasp effort set Manu Samoa up for a penalty drop goal to take the lead.

There was enough time for another kickoff, and the USA was able to hold onto the ball long enough for a game-winning score. It took a massive effort from Thretton Palamo, who appeared held up in the tackle but kept churning as a one-man maul to keep play alive. Eventually, Isles would gather a loose ball on the deck and put the Americans up at the death.

Against England, not much went right for the USA. The opening kickoff not going 10 meters was a signal of what was to come – a flurry of unforced errors that would see England take a 12-0 lead into the half and claim a 19-0 advantage before Madison Hughes scored a moot try.

The result set up a must-win encounter with France. It didn’t start well, as Julien Candelon scored early to put the USA in a hole. But an Isles try set up by Palamo and an offload from Barrett to Hughes put the Eagles up 10-7. Isles added another score at the end of the half to make it 15-7 going into the shed.

France scored at the onset of the second half to pull it close, but back-to-back tries from Test and Kevin Swiryn put the game out of reach in the Americans’ favor.

The second-place pool finish sees the USA paired with defending Series champ and first-place Fiji in the Cup Quarterfinals Saturday. The game kicks off at 8:08 p.m. ET.  

USA 24 – Samoa 20
Tries: Test, Isles, Baker (2)
Cons: Hughes

USA 5 – England 19
Tries: Hughes

USA 29 – France 21
Tries: Test, Swiryn, Hughes, Isles (2)
Cons: Hughes, Augspurger


Pat Clifton you are “too much”…. seriously it should be your bi-line. Every time USA loses you write “too much”! If you are a fan of 7’s, you have to see that the game is fast and a couple mistakes or fantastic plays from the opposition put you in the hole and time has run out. I am so proud of our team and how far they have come in the last few years. The level of rugby they are playing shows that they can hang with the “Big Boys”. The fact that they are in the top 10 of the Series and qualified for the Olympics is a testimony in itself. I find your “too much” comments insulting and lack of comprehension of what’s going on out on the field.