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Ian Muir photo

Team USA closed out day one of the Dubai 7s with a 45-14 loss at the hands of New Zealand, knocking the Eagles to 1-2 through pool play. The good news is that’s good enough to get them through to the quarterfinals Saturday, but the bad news is they’ll have a rematch with New Zealand when they get there.

New Zealand drew first blood with a kick-and-recover try. It was World Rugby 2017 Player of the Year Michaela Blyde doing all the work. Portia Woodman then scored the second try in short order for the Kiwis, leaving a flat-footed Heavirland for dead on the wing and racing around the posts. This conversion was hit, making it 12-0.

Naya Tapper put the first points on the board for the USA, simply racing around the edge with a lethal stiff arm setting her free. She rounded the corner and centered the try, setting up the crucial conversion. Successful, the kick brought the Eagles to within a single score at 14-7.

New Zealand went immediately back on the offensive, and this time it was Rugby Tui doing the scoring. She simultaneously sidestepped and handed off Carlyle, who shot up out of control, and then ran untouched for a third converted score.

With zeroes on the clock, Sarah Goss added a fourth score for New Zealand, effectively slamming the door shut by halftime. It wasn’t converted, making it 26-7.

Woodman secured her brace early in the second half before the USA would add any more points. When it did, Heavirland did the scoring and Alev Kelter the converting, but the game was still too far away from them at 33-14. The Black Ferns pumped in two more scores to close out the emphatic victory.