Men's Sevens
7 0
New Zealand
24 14
Men's Sevens  @ The Sevens Stadium
Dubai Sevens
  Richard Haughton

Men's Sevens fail to sweep Dubai Pool Play at the hands of All Blacks Sevens

DUBAI, UAE. - You could argue that every rugby sevens event needs at least one "do-over button". In this case, the Men's Eagles Sevens just might have used it in their 24-7 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks Sevens. 

After winning to back-to-back matches in brilliant order, with a 29-0 shutout of Spain and a 33-12 rout of Wales, the Eagles Sevens were all set to close out their final matchup of pool play with the same commanding result. 

But an opening yellow card drawn on Perry Baker didn't exactly yield the convincing start USA was striving for. And, when New Zealand capitalized on the influx of space to send Sam Dickson across the tryline, the opening minutes were that much more haphazard. 

"Mixed day for us and whilst we are into the quarterfinal -- which is all you can do on Day One -- our performance and what we expect of each other needs to improve," said Head Coach Mike Friday in his evaluation of the day as a whole. "That said, there are aspects we are happy with; defensively we were consistent throughout today and our turnover attack was generally good in all three games.

"We did show glimpses in our attack in each match but poor execution at starters and possession errors hurt us. Especially in this last game against New Zealand."

Despite a well-timed tackle by Eagles Sevens' Folau Niua, the All Blacks Sevens employed fancy footwork to dash through defenders and score a second time, 14-0. The opposing side held onto possession for much of the game with turnovers by the USA halting any opportunities before they could reach fruition. 

Down by only two scores before the half, the USA had one last possession go to waste when Perry Baker was pushed to touch and the referee called halftime. 

Called for a not-releasing penalty at the start of the second, the New Zealanders converted a set piece play to another score for their side; increased their lead to 19 and giving the American men a harsh awakening. 

Another United States opportunity fell to pieces when a wide offload from Ben Pinkelman to Perry Baker missed its mark and the All Blacks Sevens won another attacking drive from a scrum.  But even though time was against them, the USA men would not this easily flounder in the face of their New Zealand counterparts.

Knowing what they do and how they can do it well, the Eagles Sevens used a tap and go by Stephen Tomasin to get the ball to Carlin Isles on the right flank for his classic fast-man move. Darting quickly around the right flank, Isles was too much for the Kiwi side to cover and sailed across the tryline for the USA's lone score. 

In the end, it was a New Zealand dot down right at fulltime that sealed the scorecard at 24-7. And though it was -- as any loss ever is -- disappointing for the American side, the Men's Sevens still punched their ticket to the big game. 

The Cup Quarterfinal battle against Fiji is set for tomorrow at 3:06 AM ET, LIVE on ESPN+


Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony "Rocky" Roques 
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack


Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN+

vs Spain | 29-0 (W)
vs Wales | 33-12 (W)
vs New Zealand | 24-7 (L)

Cup Quarterfinal
vs Fiji | Sat, Dec. 1 - 3:06 AM ET