USA Drops Tough Loss to Wales in USA Sevens Bowl Final

This article is from the wonderful team at USA Rugby who organised a wonderful tournament!!

SAN DIEGO – The USA Eagles dropped a heartbreaker to Wales in the USA Sevens Bowl Final at PETCO Park. After trailing 14-0 before the half, the U.S. came thundering back in the last seven minutes to close the gap within two points, but Wales went on to win it 21-19.

In the highly-charged final match, Wales was first to strike. Wing Takudzwa Ngwenya put down his opponents’ first attack before the ball could be touched down but the next time the U.S. was not so lucky, and Wales’ Alec Jenkins got in for a try. Wales went up 14-0 heading into halftime after Tal Selley sped across the tryline.

Determined not to go down without a fight, the resilient Eagles responded to Dafydd Hewitt’s second half try with three of their own. Running with a vengeance, Todd Clever put down multiple Wales defenders and stormed up the middle for a try and Nese Malifa converted to cut the USA’s deficit in half.

A big hit by Thretton Palamo gave the U.S. another shot toward the goal line soon thereafter. The Eagles controlled the ball and spread it around the field before dishing it into the hands of veteran Riaan Hamilton, who snuck in for a try on the outside to bring the score to 19-21 with no time left. From the tough angle, Malifa’s kick soared wide and Wales slipped by to capture the Bowl.

“Captaining this squad has been a great experience for me and it’s been an honor for me to be playing alongside them,” said the USA’s Chris Wyles, who scored an impressive eight tries for the Eagles over the course of the USA Sevens tournament. “In terms of the final, we’re frustrated that we didn’t start out strongly, but we showed huge amounts of passion to come back the way we did. We’re proud and moving forward we have to try to improve with every game we play.

The USA had earned a berth in the Bowl Final after scoring in the knick of time to edge out France 12-10 in the semis. In the physical match, the Eagles trailed by five as the clock ticked down, but Chris Wyles leaped through the French defense to touch in his eighth try of the tournament and push the U.S. over the top, following the conversion from Nese Malifa. Wyles had the Eagles’ only try in the first half.

“In the first try that we scored in this match, we played tough defense for almost four minutes and I told them to be patient with our defense and that would put so much pressure on the opposition that they would cough up the ball,” USA Men’s Sevens Coach Al Caravelli said. “We also have to give France a lot of credit because they did exactly the same as us, they put on a lot of pressure. We’ve played them four times this season and they’ve got one win on us, but it’s been very tough each time.”

When day 2 at PETCO Park commenced, the rejuvenated Men’s Sevens squad built on the momentum from their 52-0 pool play victory over Mexico, defeating Chile 40-12 in the Bowl quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals to face France.

After pulling off a hat trick against Mexico, Chris Wyles was quick to get the USA offense going this morning. Winger Takudzwa Ngwenya dished off to Wyles, who finished the job inside the game’s first minute. Nese Malifa’s conversion was on the mark, putting the U.S. up 7-0. Hardly a minute had elapsed before Wyles made his second trip over the goal line, with Malifa converting.

Inside minute five, the Eagles scored once more when Todd Clever’s pass slipped by Matt Hawkins and James Gillenwater zipped in to finish off the charge. Chile was able to sneak in one before the half to make it a 19-5 game.

On the other side of the break the USA was off to the races within the first 20 seconds when Matt Hawkins jetted downfield and set up James Gillenwater for his second try on the day. Nese Malifa brought the score to 26-5 with his conversion.

Chile fought back to make it a 14 point game just inside five minutes, but with the fancy footwork of Takudzwa Ngwenya, the U.S. soon pulled out of reach. Ngwenya went the distance from post to post, sprinting in for his first try near seven minutes and off some impressive stepping, touched down across the try line once more, with Dallen Stanford booting both conversions.

For more the latest USA Sevens scores, check out the MobileScore board on the USA Rugby homepage. See this link for more information about the USA Sevens Tournament.

IRB Sevens World Series – San Diego, Calif.
Day 2 Results – Sunday, February 10, 2008

Game 25 10:00 quarterfinal bowl France 36, West Indies 5
Game 26 10:22 quarterfinal bowl United States 40, Chile 12
Game 27 10:44 quarterfinal bowl Canada 45, Mexico 0
Game 28 11:06 quarterfinal bowl Wales 19, Australia 12
Game 29 11:28 quarterfinal cup New Zealand 28, Fiji 5
Game 30 11:50 quarterfinal cup Kenya 17, England 7
Game 31 12:12 quarterfinal cup South Africa 24, Argentina 0
Game 32 12:34 quarterfinal cup Samoa 24, Scotland 14
Game 33 13:06 semifinal shield Chile 19, West Indies 17
Game 34 13:28 semifinal shield Australia 63, Mexico 0
Game 35 13:50 semifinal bowl USA 12, France 10
Game 36 14:12 semifinal bowl Wales 22, Canada 14
Game 37 14:34 semifinal plate Fiji 21, England 14
Game 38 14:56 semifinal plate Argentina 22, Scotland 14
Game 39 15:38 semifinal cup New Zealand 50, Kenya 10
Game 40 16:00 semifinal cup South Africa 22, Samoa 12
Game 41 16:25 final shield Australia 24, Chile 12
Game 42 16:50 final bowl Wales 21, United States 19
Game 43 17:15 final plate Fiji 26, Argentina 21
Game 44 17:45 final cup New Zealand 26, South Africa 12

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