Eagles earn place in Shield Final with 26-7 win against Spain


GOLD COAST, Australia – Two tries from USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans and two from Folau Niua gave the Eagles a 26-7 win against Spain in the Gold Coast Sevens Shield Semifinal.

The Eagles scored the first try for the first time in the opening leg of the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series. A Spanish lineout deep in defensive territory created problems as the Eagles swarmed and tackled a player in the try zone, resulting in a scrum in a good attacking position. Spain’s infringement in the scrum allowed Niua to take a quick tap and pass to Pat Blair, who took a few defenders down with him and made space for Niua to score. He converted his own try for a 7-0 lead.

Spain made some quick runs past the initial Eagles defenders during its next possession. Niua received a yellow card with a little over two minutes remaining in the half and Spain capitalized through Angel Lopez. The conversion was good, tying the game at 7-7.

Miles Craigwell entered the match early in the second half and made an immediate impact once again, supporting Stephen Tomasin’s lengthy run for the Eagles’ second try. Niua converted for the second time and the Eagles led 14-7.

Zack Test set up Niua for his second try of the match in the 11th minute, extending the Eagles’ lead to 19-7. Carlin Isles entered the game and helped the Eagles keep Spain off of the scoreboard with a few strong tackles before Ryan Matyas earned his first on the circuit. Niua converted for a third time and the Eagles earned a spot in the Shield Final.

Portugal defeated Tonga 40-7 in the other Shield Semifinal. The Eagles won three Plate Finals during the 2012-13 IRB HSBS Sevens World Series and will hope to start the 2013-14 Series with the Shield against Portugal.

Follow @USARugby on Twitter for live updates of the Shield Final from 3:02 A.M. ET.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Spain
1. Carlin Isles (s)
2. Pat Blair3. Matt Hawkins4. Ryan Matyas (s)
5. Zack Test6. Brett Thompson7. Folau Niua8. Jack Halalilo (s)
9. Miles Craigwell (s)
10. Tai Enosa (s)
11. Nick Edwards12. Stephen Tomasin

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 26Men’s Eagles Sevens | Shield Final
v. Portugal – Sunday, Oct. 13 – 3:02 A.M. ET