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Team USA has made a historic fourth-straight final with a 14-7 win over England. The Eagles will face New Zealand, 36-14 winners over Fiji in the other semifinal, for the Sydney 7s title. Win or lose, Team USA will arrive on home soil in first place. A victory will set the Eagles alone atop the leader board. A loss will see them and Fiji remain deadlocked.
In the semifinal, the Eagles started with possession and looked in control when a Martin Iosefo offload hit the turf, bouncing into the arms of Dan Norton, who ran untouched the other way for the opening try. The Eagles hit back two minutes later, with Danny Barrett and Ben Pinkelman connecting on a double give-and-go to set up Tomasin for the trying converted try.
England’s defense didn’t give itself up very easily, with the Americans having to force contact and win those battles to create space. Their offload game was strong, though there were some close calls, leading to Pinkelman charging onto a tight pass for the go-ahead try, also converted, putting the USA up 14-7 at halftime.
The second half was rife with tension. Dan Norton looked to be in, but the touch judge was late to signal his stepping on the chalk, nullifying what would have been the tying try. Despite Kevon Williams and Madison Hughes limping off and the Eagles were dogged in defense and patient and methodical in attack, staving England off to secure another final.
It looked like the slipper might fit for Spain deep into the first half of the quarterfinal, but the Eagles woke up and scored 38-consecutive points to beat Spain 38-10 Sunday in the quarterfinals of Sydney 7s. Spain was relegated from the World Series after the 2013/2014 season, earning back promotion last season. This year, they’ve gotten off to a hotter star than usual.
Still, it was a surprise when Spain drew first blood in the third minute. The opportunity presented itself when Folau Niua was penalized for shoulder charging a guy off the ball, giving Spain an attacking lineout deep in American territory. The Eagles held off the inevitable for a few phases, but Spain took a 5-0 lead.
The Eagles waited until five minutes in to get on the board, but then they scored with much more regularity, running in three tries before halftime. Madison Hughes’ brace sandwiched Stephen Tomasin’s first score, putting the USA up 19-5 at halftime.
Carlin Isles darted in from short distance to start the second half, putting the game out of reach. Tomasin got his second thereafter, before Brett Thompson joined the party and Spain got one back in garbage time.