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With Q and A analysis with Liv d'Alberti
In the third round of Pool A, the USA rugby sevens women astounded the global community with a 12-12 tie against world champions Australia. The Wallaroos previously thrashed Colombia 53-0, and Fiji 36-0 in earlier clinically played results without ceding a point to the opposition.
This was a USA game that will live in national memory, a gritty, spirited, and convincing performance from a squad that had looked flat and unsteady in the Fiji loss. If there is to found a precise starting point it could be the crushing tackle Folyan put on the speedster Ellia Green, which sent the Aussie off field for the newly installed concussion protocol.
In the first half, the Eagles had three long breakaway runs that all failed short of the try line, and all well-covered by the Australians
The Aussies, spurred on by the opportunistic Tonegato, scored before half to lead 5-0.
Coach Riche Walker substituted Jessica Javelet in the second half and the former three-time college field hockey All-American ripped off an around corner try under the post. USA then led 7-5.
Minutes later, Javelet intercepted a pass for a try and the USA were up 12-5 as the conversion failed. The Aussies stormed back with minutes ticking away on a scoop try by Tonegato. The conversion tied it 12-12.
RT: Liv, overall comments on them match?
Liv: A complete reversal of past Olympic play. An unbelievable outcome, and better than anyone expected. Not only did they block out the Aussie offense, the Eagles consistently attacked.
RT: What accounted for the change in the attack from past games?
Liv: Foremost, the passing was spot on with only one knock on that went for a Tonegato score. The Eagle runners found gaps in the Aussie defense, enabling long runs that were all halted by excellent Australian covering. And Javelet's two tries were things of beauty.
RT: The defense?
Liv: Brilliant, especially when the Eagles turned over Aussie rucks. Sure, head on tackling prevented the opponents from making open field breakaway. Both teams won their set pieces.
RT: USA advance into the quarterfinal with second-ranked New Zealand. (Game on CNBC at 5:30 p.m. ET) What do they have to do to prevail?
Liv: Play exactly like the match against Australia but a point ahead of the Black Ferns.
RT: For everyone who watched this game - rugby enthusiast or viewer - the Eagle Women engendered national ride for their performance.