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Team USA made it four-from-four in Cape Town with a 19-12 defeat of England in Sunday’s quarterfinals. The win sees the Eagles to the semifinals for the second-straight tournament, where they’ll face New Zealand, the only team to beat them this season.
The semifinal didn’t start well for the USA, which conceded an English try in the opening minute. Martin Iosefo took a stiff-arm to the chest, allowing an English ball carrier the space to score on the right touchline.
The Eagles truck back immediately, scoring through a move that’s becoming a favorite – a grubber kicked ahead by Folau Niua for Martin Iosefo. He gathered and offloaded to Madison Hughes, who scored under the posts. The conversions were nailed, tying the game at 7-7.
Dan Norton knocked on England’s next possession, but penalty advantage was being held for offsides, and England kept the pressure on. The Eagles held England up on the penalty play, and off the scrum they forced England into a penalty for playing a knock-on from an offside position.
The Eagles had just bought themselves some breathing room after a long defensive stand, but with a minute left in the half and an attacking set piece, Iosefo knocked on, giving the ball back to England in the American end.
Dan Bibby finally pierced the defense by stepping Hughes just off the breakdown, scoring from about 10 meters out just on halftime. The missed conversion attempt made it 12-7 to England at the break.
Iosefo knocked on to start the second half, too, but luckily for the USA, England was equally sloppy, getting tackled out of bounds. The English were called offside at the ensuing lineout, gifting the Eagles another attacking lineout near the 22.
They inched closer to the line before finding Danny Barrett one-on-one on the wing, and he fended his way over the line for the tying try. The touchline conversion was missed, leaving the score knotted at 14-14 with two minutes to play.
Barrett bashed through two English defenders at the try line to secure a brace 90 seconds later. A Madison Hughes pass missed its mark and bounced on the turf. Iosefo sprinted onto the loose ball, scooping and gashing England, setting up Barrett’s try.
Hughes converted – 19-12 with one kickoff left. England won the restart, but a breakdown penalty against player/assistant coach James Rodwell ended the match.