Men's Sevens
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Men's Sevens  @ Hong Kong Stadium
Hong Kong Sevens
  Matt O'Brien
World Rugby


HONG KONG - Mike Friday's Men's Eagles Sevens showed why they deserved to play in a Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Final Sunday in a 27-0 shutout of Wales.

Perry Baker scored a hat trick of tries in the Plate Semifinal to claim the lead in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series' seventh round's try-scoring table with seven on the weekend, while young Ben Pinkelman added a brace in the victory. The Eagles will play England in the Plate Final at 6 a.m. ET to end their campaign at Hong Kong Stadium.

The Eagles' lone wing started the match by winning Folau Niua's restart in the air. Martin Iosefo and Zack Test combined for runs that brought the U.S. within 10 meters of the try line, and the attack continued to the opposite touch line, where Baker went over through a tackle. It took a second look for the match official to award the try, but it led to the Eagles taking a first-minute, 5-0, lead.

Wales was not allowed to touch the ball from the ensuing restart, and a swift-moving attack with massive runs from Garrett Bender and Test preceded an offside call against Wales. Niua took the quick tap for a set play, and captain Madison Hughes split two defenders. Test fed Pinkelman on the wing, and the Colorado State University student-athlete took a defender and the ball over the try line.

The 10-0 lead remained despite Wales claiming possession from a failed chip-kick play, but the defensive chase from the Eagles forced a rushed clearance kick. The 10-meter lineout was won by Friday's team, and Baker waited out a defender five meters from the line before offloading to an onrushing Iosefo. The pass was deemed forward, however, keeping the Eagles from extending the lead.

Baker had an opportunity to score his second try of the half when an ill-timed grubber from Wales deep in its own half was recovered by the Eagles. The wing attempted to center his dot-down, but Luke Treharne got a hand to the Eagle, who dropped the ball mid-dive.

Friday plead for his side to keep up its work ethic ahead by just 10 points, and the team did just that, creating a turnover and try-scoring opportunity in the opening minutes of the second half. Baker had two separate gain-line-breaking runs before Test drove through a few defenders to the try line. He smartly placed the ball back for Pinkelman to take over the line, extending the lead to 15-0.

Maka Unufe replaced Iosefo and lost the ensuing restart forward off of his fingertips, but Wales lost its possession to put the Eagles back in command. Bender powered through past the 22 near the touch line, and a couple of quick passes found Baker in space for his second try and a 22-0 lead.

Unufe again failed to win the restart, but so did his opposite number, and Baker raced onto the bouncing ball and took it to the try line untouched for his hat trick. Nate Augspurger combined with Pinkelman to keep the shutout intact in the dying seconds, making a tackle inches in front of the try line and stealing the ball in the breakdown. Though one of them lost it forward, Wales could not do anything with the five-meter scrum, ending the match at 27-0.

The Eagles could gain 13 Series points from Hong Kong should they defeat England in the Plate Final. The two sides have met four times this season, with England holding a 3-1 advantage, though the Eagles won the most recent matchup at HSBC Canada Sevens. The Plate Final is scheduled to kick off at 6 a.m. ET, with the live broadcast available on World Rugby's website.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Wales

1. Nate Ebner

2. Ben Pinkelman

3. Danny Barrett

4. Garrett Bender

5. Zack Test

6. Peter Tiberio

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Martin Iosefo

Wales | v. USA

1. Luke Treharne

2. Ethan Davies

3. Chris Knight

4. Luke Morgan

5. Owen Jenkins

6. Tom Isaacs

7. Jordan Williams

8. Lloyd Evans

9. Kristian Phillips

10. Sam Cross

11. Adam Thomas

12. Ben Roach

Men's Eagles Sevens |

Tries: Baker (3), Pinkelman (2)

Conversions: Hughes

Wales | 0

Tries: N/A

Conversions: N/A