Eagles into Hong Kong Plate Final against Australia

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(ISN) – HONG KONG – The Men’s Eagles Sevens bounced back from a loss to Samoa with a 28-14 defeat of Argentina in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Plate Semifinal Sunday.

The Eagles will take on fourth-ranked Australia in the Plate Final at 6 a.m. ET Sunday. Australia won a punishing Plate Semifinal of its own against England at Hong Kong Stadium.

Despite Danny Barrett catching the opening kickoff, Argentina scored in the first two minutes of the match with a fluid attack that steadily pushed the Eagles’ defensive line backwards. Rodrigo Etchart made the final move to dot down by sliding around Zack Test.

The U.S. responded to the 7-0 deficit within a minute of Argentina’s score after Madison Hughes had a big run down the right-hand touch line. The captain took contact and sent a pass to a streaking Test, who took the ball from midfield to the 22. Barrett finished off the play by taking Test’s offload in the tackle, and Hughes’ conversion leveled the match at 7-7.

Maka Unufe set up the Eagles’ second and third tries with brilliant individual efforts. His fifth-minute try stemmed from a run from inside the Eagles’ half that weaved through the Argentinian defense and beneath the posts. In the final minute of the half, his offload at the 15-meter line to Perry Baker put the Eagles’ half-time lead at 21-7.

Argentina enjoyed an extended period of possession to start the second half after the Eagles turned the ball over with a penalty. The attack came to nothing, however, with a knock called against the Pumas in the ninth minute.

The Eagles managed the clock for the remaining minutes with Argentina helping by taking multiple penalties. From midfield in the penultimate minute of the match, Test got around a diving defender along the touch line and beat Argentina’s sweeper at the 22 for his sixth try of the tournament, good for top of the try-scoring table.

Francisco Merello added a consolation try for Argentina with a solo effort of his own by juking Nate Augspurger and fending Mataiyasi Leuta outside the try line. The try was converted to bring the final score to 28-14.

A win in the Hong Kong Sevens Plate Final would give the Eagles 13 points in the Series standings. The match against Australia is scheduled to kick off at 6 a.m. ET and can be viewed on Universal Sports. 

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Argentina
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta

Argentina | v. USA
1. Fernando Luna
2. German Schulz
3. Santiago Alvarez
4. Francisco Merello
5. Franco Sabato
6. Ramiro Finco
7. Rodrigo Etchart
8. Gaston Revol
9. Axel Muller
10. Javier Rojas
11. Nicolas Bruzzone
12. Segundo Tuculet

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 28
Tries: Barrett, Unufe, Baker, Test
Conversions: Hughes (4)

Argentina | 14
Tries: Etchart, Merello
Conversions: Alvarez (2)

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
v Kenya – W 21-14
v Wales – W 40-12
v England – D 21-21
Cup QF v Samoa – L 25-16
Plate SF v Argentina – W 28-14
Plate Final v Australia – Sunday, March 29 – 6 a.m. ET

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