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Ian Muir photo

Team USA finished with back-to-back wins to claim fifth-place in Paris, widening the gap between the Eagles and Australia in the World Series standings. The USA's title hopes ended with a 26-12 defeat at the hands of England to start day two, but wins over Fiji, 24-14, and Samoa, 24-19, saw the Eagles end the tournament on a high note.

Mike Friday's crew is now almost certain to finish the season ranked fifth, the highest ever for the Eagles. They're 13 points clear of sixth-place Australia and 13 points shy of fourth-place New Zealand with just one tournament, London, left to be played. 

The most resounding win was that over Fiji. After dropping three-straight to the defending world champions over the course of the season, losing in South Africa, Australia and Canada, the Eagles have now beaten Fiji in back-to-back tournaments.  

In the England game, two Perry baker tries weren't enough to keep the Eagles afloat. Baker opened scoring in the fourth minute with an unconverted try. Then England pumped in two converted scores before halftime to take a 14-5 lead into the break. Baker scored first again in the second half, this time converted, but the English would run in two more scores to take the win. The first, coming off an interception, was converted, meaning the Eagles were two scores down the final three mintues of the match. 

The Eagles then drew Fiji in what used to be called the Plate semifinals. The defending world champs won the opening restart and scored in short order. The Americans drew level against six men after Fiji earned a yellow card. Madison Hughes did the scoring. 

The two sides traded scores on either side of the halftime whistle to level the field again at 14-14. The USA scored first with Stephen Tomasin and Andrew Durutalo combining to turn Fiji over and Tomasin going the distance. Fiji's leveler came from a lineout. Team USA then racked up two scores in a row to claim the win, with Hughes and Pinkleman dotting down.   

The fifth-place decider against Samoa would see the Americans rip out to a 19-0 advantage in the first half. Samoa scored before intermission, but then the Eagles extended the lead to 24-7 with a score at the onset of the second half. Samoa would add two late scores to make the last minute interesting, but the Eagles held on.