Men's Sevens
24 19
19 7
Men's Sevens  @ Stade Jean-Bouin
Paris Sevens
  Sam Grove-White

Fifth suits Eagles with final Paris victory

 Martin Seras Lima

PARIS - The Men's Eagles Sevens retained their fifth-place standing on the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with a 24-19 defeat of Samoa Sunday in the HSBC Paris Sevens Fifth-Place Final.

Head Coach Mike Friday's squad finished the ninth leg of the season with a tournament-best 22 tries scored, including the four dotted down against Samoa at Stade Jean-Bouin. Perry Baker finished the weekend as the top points-scorer with 40 points. The Eagles will have one last opportunity to break into the top four on the Series at HSBC London Sevens May 20-21, with the pool draw placing them in Pool A with Kenya, Series champion South Africa, and Wales.

The Eagles were thrown behind the eight ball early in their Final as Perry Baker, the tournament's leading try-scorer with eight five-pointers, dove to pick off a Samoan pass inside the first minute. The deliberate knock-down drew a yellow card from match official Sam Grove-White's pocket, but the U.S. stemmed the Samoan attack to force a turnover with a knock. Folau Niua broke the gain line and used his reach to secure the ball before offloading to Matai Leuta, then quickly took the tap from a penalty five meters from the try line to open the scoring, 7-0.

Mike Te'o doubled the lead to 14-0 in the fifth minute after Baker returned to play, following a strong Leuta run-and-offload across 40 meters. Baker set up Durutalo with his first try of the weekend in the seventh minute with a no-look offload as the forward rounded the speedster on the wing. The Eagles were a bit too nonchalant with ball in hand at the end of the half, however, as Samoa Toloa put his side on the board, 19-7, after the U.S. failed to clean up a loose pass.

Maka Unufe benefitted from a more clinical set of passes to open the second half with a try, darting down the touch line untouched inside the attacking half. The 24-7 lead was knocked down to 24-19 as time neared expiration as Alatasi Tupou freed Toloa for his second in the 10th minute and a U.S. turnover five meters from the line gifted Francis Ieremia a try a minute from time. The Eagles held onto the ball as time expired to send it into touch for the final whistle.

The Eagles will learn their London pool opponents prior to leaving Stade Jean-Bouin Sunday and will fly to England to prepare for the final round of the season. They are still clear of sixth-place Australia by 13 points and trail New Zealand in fourth by 13 points.

Men's Eagles Sevens | v. Samoa

1. Alex Schwarz

2. Ben Pinkelman

3. Don Pati

4. Matai Leuta

5. Mike Te'o

6. Andrew Durutalo

7. Folau Niua

8. Maka Unufe

9. Stephen Tomasin

10. Madison Hughes (C)

11. Perry Baker

12. Martin Iosefo

13. Naima Fualaau

Samoa | v. USA

1. Gordon Langkilde

2. Faalemiga Selesele

3. Alamanda Motuga

4. Lafaele Vaa

5. Tofatu Solia

6. Francis Ieremia

7. Alatasi Tupou

8. Tomasi Alosio

9. Tila Mealoi

10. Samoa Toloa

11. Matty Tuatagaloa

12. Joe Perez

13. Elisapeta Alofipo

Men's Eagles Sevens | 24

Tries: Niua, Te'o, Durutalo, Unufe

Conversions: Te'o (2)

Discipline: Baker (Yellow)

Samoa | 19

Tries: Toloa (2), Ieremia

Conversions: Tupou (2)

Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Paris Sevens

v. Argentina - W 26-19

v. Wales - W 38-14

v. New Zealand - L 27-14

Cup QF v. Engalnd - L 26-12

Fifth-Place Semifinal v. Fiji - W 24-14

Fifth-Place Final v. Samoa - W 24-19