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Two tries from Colin Hawley and a concerted defensive display saw the USA win the Bowl at the Adelaide 7s, finally showing a run of play worthy of earning HSBC Sevens World Series points.
The Eagles started the game well, putting pressure on Kenya and working the ball well in the rucks. A nifty backhanded pass from Roland Suniula found his brother, Shalom, and the flyhalf put on a sidestep and took it under the posts.
After that the Eagles seemed to have the better part of play, containing Kenya and getting a couple of penalties, too. But, despite being a team strong in the set piece, the set piece let them down. A lineout was stolen by Kenya and quick running and hands saw Collins Injera in at the corner.
Another set piece, this time a scrum, almost ended in disaster as Kenya stole the ball out the back of the scrum and attacked into the USA 22. However, the USA defense held and Paul Emerick stole the ball and set up what would be a key try.
Kenya, having been warned for repeated ruck offenses, got a yellow card from referee David Smotchevsky, and up a man the Eagles spun the ball wide to Colin Hawley, who raced to the corner with time up in the first half.
Kenya decided to kill time in the second half until they were back at full strength, running short runs off the ruck. It worked, as the USA failed to score, and then after a bad turnover in a ruck near midfield, the Eagles were slow to scramble back and gave up a try on an unopposed quick tap by Biko Adema.
That appeared to tie the game, but Adema somehow managed to miss the conversion to leave the score at 12-10, USA leading.
The Eagles then put together one of their best tries, working the rucks and keep the ball alive, with some great work from Zack Test and Colin Hawley. Finally Matt Hawkins found Hawley on the wing, and the pulled desperately away from his defender and just made it over the line. That made it 17-10, and the Eagles held off one last Kenyan run to earn for the USA their first IRB World Series points since Dubai.
The Eagles defended very well, giving up two tries, but both were on turnovers, rather than from missed tackles.
"I am because they kept getting better as the weekend went on. The end result and the way they played in the last three tournaments I am pleased we're headed in the right direction," said USA Coach Al Caravelli.
Tries: Hawley 2, S. Suniula
Convs: S. Suniula
Tries: Injera, Adema