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Photo by Ian Muir

The USA Eagles drew Canada 26-26 in their second match of pool play at the 2016 USA Sevens. Canada scored three second-half tries to knot the match up.

The Eagles started with a sense of urgency. Maka Unufe tapped the opening kickoff back and Danny Barrett ran into space. The Eagles spun the ball wide through the hands to a wide open Zack Test. Test dove over in the corner for a try.

After the restart, Unufe made a tackle and went for the poach but was hit awkwardly. He left the field cradling his shoulder. The Eagles pressed on and Perry Baker found himself isolated inside the USA 22. Baker elected to kick ahead into open space. The speedster ran on to the ball, got a perfect bounce and went in under the posts.

Canada struck back through Admir Cejvenovich. Harry Jones broke a Barrett tackle and offloaded to Cejvenovich who took it the distance down the sideline to cut the lead to 12-5.

The Eagles responded immediately through a fortuitous bounce. Canada knocked the ball backwards on the restart and Martin Iosefo pounced on the back for an easy try with no time remaining in the half. At the break the Eagles led 19-7.

Early in the second half Canada had an overload down the left sideline and would have scored if not for a great try saving tackle that caused a knock on from Perry Baker. On the ensuing scrum Baker looked trapped in the try zone but outflanked the Canada defense and it took over 100 meters for a try and a 26-5 lead.

Conor Trainor broke through a Madison Hughes tackle and sprinted around an Eagle defender to score Canada’s second try. Moments later John Moonlight darted down the sideline and executed a one handed offload to Nathan Hirayama to make it a one score game.

Canada completed the comeback after a Phil Mack stiff armed Ben Pinkleman and sprinted in for the tying score. The conversion was missed and the game was tied at 26-26.

The Eagles knocked on the restart and it looked like the Eagles were headed for a stunning defeat. After several penalties, Canada was knocking on the doorstep and threatening to score in the left corner within five meters of the try line. However, a floating pass was knocked into touch by Test, ending the match and Canada’s bid for an upset.

The USA play again at 2:35 PST on Saturday against South Africa to finish up pool play.