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Team USA has booked its trip to the final of the inaugural Silicon Valley 7s, downing England 27-0 in dominant fashion. There was some stress early on, but the Eagles stood up to it and pulled away. The win makes the USA 4-0 going into the final against Australia, which has looked class on the weekend.
“This was the plan all along,” said captain Ben Pinkelman. “We knew we could get here and we knew we should get here, so I’m glad we got it done.”
“They weren’t perfect, but they were nearly perfect,” added head coach Mike Friday, referring to his team in the semifinal.
It got off to a dizzying start, with England being kept from drawing first blood by two desperate tackles, the last of which was an ankle tap. Stephen Tomasin stole the ball in the ensuing ruck, and Martin Iosefo set the Eagles back the other direction. It was a very composed catch and pass under pressure by Chris Mattina that set Pinkelman free for the try.
Niua’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but the USA went back on the offensive immediately. A second try seemed sure when Leuta was just a couple of meters from the line, but an offload to Tomasin was knocked on. That, plus an American penalty and some shoving, saw England clear its lines.
The Eagles stole back-to-back England lineouts to regain the front foot. Right after the latter, a smashing ruck by Folau Niua retained the ball for the Americans deep in the English end, and Pinkelman chased in support to earn his second try.
Niua set up the next try a minute later, this time by stabbing a kick through the English defense for Iosefo to run onto. He chased the pill down and grounded it in the thin try zone, putting the Eagles up three scores. None of the tries were converted, making it 15-0 going into the break.
Leuta setup the second try after Niua picked up a loose ball. He ducked in and around two defenders before Mattina appeared at the perfect time for a pass. He just beat the last English defender to the try line, dotting down his second try of the tournament. This one was converted – 22-0.
The bench was then emptied, and it didn’t take long for the reserves to get involved. Matyas made a line break in the middle third of the field, Anthony Welmers cleared the ruck, and the ball was spun to Williams on the wing. He nearly made it a brace, but knocked on a chance for a second try right on full time.