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Team USA’s first loss of the weekend came in the final of the Silicon Valley 7s Sunday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The Eagles jumped out to a two-score lead, but Australia methodically came back and overcame the deficit to win 15-12.
Just like in the USA’s semifinal, the opening minutes of the final were frenetic, with each team threatening each other’s lines but the defense remaining sound. It would be two penalties that helped get the Eagles on the board first, one with their heels on their own end, and another deep in Australia’s end. That possession was strung together by two impressive spin passes from Mattina out of tackles, the latter of which put Ben Pinkelman in for the score.
Tomasin extended the lead with a try directly off the restart. There was a back chat penalty near midfield. Niua quarterbacked the set play, and Tomasin was put into a gap. He chugged through it and safely into pay dirt. Niua’s conversion was good, making it 12-0 with just a kickoff to come before halftime.
Australia wouldn’t waste the opportunity, securing the restart and going on attack. Several phases and a penalty later, Ed Jenkins scored to draw the Aussies within a converted try at the break.
Jenkins continued to put his mark on the final early in the second half. He bottled up the speed of, and poached the ball from, Kevon Williams. Australia spun it to the opposite wing and back, and it was Jenkins who’d race in on the corner. The kick was missed, like the first, leaving the USA up 12-10.
The Eagles made some more substitutions, bringing on the electric veteran, Maka Unufe. He slipped through the Australian line and offloaded to Williams, who lost his footing while hauling in the pass and was tackled into touch. The Eagles sold out on a counter ruck, and Maurice Longbottom made them pay with a 95-meter try. The conversion was missed – 15-12 with a minute to play.
USA won the lineout and took the patient route. Unfortunately, any hope of getting on the front foot was dashed with a static shape. Pinkelman opted to take the ball into contact and attract Australian defenders. Unfortunately, those Australians blew through the subsequent ruck, stole the ball back and kicked to touch to end the game.