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Team USA made it a clean sweep in Pool B, throttling Canada 34-14 in their final match of day one. The Eagles accounted for 75 points in their final two pool matches after an anemic 7-0 win over France to start the day. Up next is a quarterfinal bout with Spain at 9:22 p.m. ET Saturday.
In the pool finale, Carlin Isles and Kevon Williams scored hat tricks to push the Americans past their rivals to the north. The Canadians won the opening kickoff and spent the first minute on attack. They got to within five meters before Ben Pinkelman stole the ball back through the breakdown. Canadian captain Nathan Hirayama was sent off during the play for a neck roll.
The first score of the game came when Martin Iosefo got away with a blatant penalty, swatting the ball from the Canadian scrumhalf’s hands at the base of a ruck, but the referee called the knock-on. From the scrum, Carlin Isles skinned his opposite for the try.
Barrett appeared to get away with another penalty, tackling Hirayama after he’d grubbered forward. The result of the unchased kick was a 22 dropout, which Stephen Tomasin won to put Kevon Williams away for another score. Isles added a second right on halftime, bobbling the ball only to gather it and squeeze off a touch pass to Barrett, who assisted Isles. The score made it 17-0 at intermission.
Williams added his second via a long cutout pass from Madison Hughes, exploiting the space outside Canada’s defense. Connor Braid cracked the goose egg midway through the half, smashing past Hughes and stretching for a try under the posts.
The conversion cut the deficit to 15, and Pat Kay darted in directly off the kickoff to make it 22-14 with two-and-a-half minutes to play. Isles jetted up the weak side off a ruck after Brett Thompson won the restart. A Canadian pushed him after the score, giving the USA a penalty play at midfield instead of a kickoff. Without passing, Williams slipped past the defense and scored to flatter the score line at the death.
In the tourney-opener against France, the Eagles struggled to get any offense going. Luckily, so did France, as both teams put in impressive defensive shifts. The difference maker was the lone try of the game, scored by Williams in the 11th minute. Isles assisted, making up for a knock-on in-goal seconds earlier.
But the setup was really done by Ben Pinkelman, who managed to win the ball against the head in the five-meter scrum after Isles’ blunder. Madison Hughes nailed the conversion, and the Eagles preserved the shutout.
It was a rampaging start against Kenya, with the USA scoring off the first three kickoffs. Smashing runs from Iosefo, Leuta and Pinkelman set up Barrett with about 10 meters to cover and one Kenyan to run over. He had no issues, putting the USA up 5-0 after a minute.
Leuta tapped the ball back on the second kickoff, and Barrett fed Pinkelman this time, who fended one defender while crossing over for the USA’s second try in as many minutes. Kenya had all rights to the third kickoff, but bobbled it, and Barrett was there for the rebound. Folau Niua kicked ahead for Iosefo, who blew past his opposite, scooped and scored.
All three scores were unconverted, making it 15-0 with three minutes to play. Kenya finally got its first possession when Iosefo heaved a desperate offload to no one after Barrett won yet another kickoff. Barrett won the ball back for the USA by forcing a not-releasing penalty.
Hughes added another right on halftime, picking from the base of the scrum and effectively using Isles as a decoy en route to a try. He converted, making it 22-0 at the break. Isles got in on the action on the other side of halftime, rounding his opposite off an attacking lineout. Maceo Brown scored seconds later, taking an out pass from Barrett and stepping one defender.