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Pool B at the 2012 USA 7s always promised to be a tight one, and the opening matches didn’t disappoint.
Those opening games were also noteworthy because the losing side scored first in each. Argentina looked every bit the fractious Pumas that have won the USA 7s twice. They went into contact hard, and took a few calculated risks.
On their heels, Fiji were shocked to see Argentina score early for a 7-0 lead.
And despite their best efforts, the Fijians struggled to put together meaningful attacks. Argentina’s Martin Chiappesoni scored to give his team an improbable 12-0 lead, but a key moment came at the end of the first half. Fiji received the kickoff, kept their composure and finally Nemani Nagusa cantered in to make it 12-7. Fiji scored midway through the second half to win it, but it was that try at halftime that won it for Fiji.
Next up was the USA and Canada. The Eagles had come off a 0-5 trip to Wellington, and started brilliantly – Shalom Suniula and Zack Test combining for a try.
Canada replied but then Colin Hawley ran well in support of a bullocking run from matt Hawkins to give his side a 12-7 lead at halftime.
The Eagles, however, frittered away chances to score more, and then gifted Canada the tying and winning tries with errors. It was there for the taking by the Eagles, and they didn’t take it.
In round two, the USA hoped to rebound against a Fiji side ranked #2 in the series. It didn’t take long for Fiji to torch the USA for a try, but despite a few errors, turnovers, and interceptions, the USA somehow stayed in the game. The final score was 33-19, and Fiji won, as expected, but the USA showed something on offense.
Canada and Argentina battled as only they can, with Argentina scoring midway through the first half and again at the end. But Nanyak Dala’s score woke up the vocal Canadian fans and Sean Duke’s interception got them screaming again. But it wasn’t quite enough. Argentina 19 Canada 12.
This pool could well come down to points difference. Fiji should win the pool, but it’s possible the other three will end up 1-2. Then it comes down to points for an against. At present, Argentina leads that measurement with a +5. Canada is at 0. The USA is at -21.
However, if the USA beats Argentina by 13 or more, and Canada loses by more than 8, the Eagles make the quarters.
Tries: Nagusa, Nayacalevu
Convs: Talebula 2
Tries: Bruzzone, Chiappesoni
Convs: de la Fuente
Tries: Ardron, Hirayama, Paris
Convs: Hirayama 2
Tries: Test, Hawley
Convs: S. Suniula
Tries: Talebula 2, Nayacalevu, Nagusa, Vasuinubu
Convs: Talebula 4
Tries: Test, Niua, Tiberio
Convs: S. Suniula 2
Tries: Merello 2, Migliore
Convs: Revol 2
Tries: Dala, Duke