USA Sevens Hit Jackpot in Las Vegas


The USA finally hit the jackpot by successfully defending their title in the Las Vegas Sevens with a 27-0 thrashing of Samoa in the Cup Final. The Eagles had lost the previous four Cup Finals this season—two each to Fiji and New Zealand. 

Already without Perry Baker (broken jaw), the USA would later lose Danny Barrett after Day Two to an arm injury. That would not stop the USA on Day Three where they overcame an early 12-0 deficit to come back and defeat the All Blacks Sevens, 24-19, taking advantage of New Zealand’s stunning lack of discipline in the closing seconds and getting the game-winning try through Carlin Isles. 

Samoa were a surprise throughout the weekend by stunning Australia, 21-20, in the Cup Quarterfinals and then defeated Argentina in the Semis, 33-19, to reach their first Cup Final in the series since 2016 in Paris. 

However, it was the USA who held all the Aces in the Cup Final and got a pair of tries from Player of the Final Ben Pinkelman and one each from Matai Leuta, Madison Hughes, and Maceo Brown to close the weekend.

“If we’re going to win one of them then the one at home was the one we wanted. It feels so good, having missed out on it last year when I was up in the box [injured]. So now to be here on the field feels pretty good,” said Hughes.

“I’m so proud. That final shows that the first day didn’t really go the way we wanted it to but there was such good fight in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. It feels pretty amazing to be out here now.”

That first day was marked by a loss to Argentina in pool play on Day One which meant having to win against France to advance on Day Two which they did and then went on to dominate South Africa in the Cup Quarterfinals. 

New Zealand recovered to finish third by overcoming a 19-7 deficit with three tries in the final three minutes to defeat Argentina, 26-19. Fifth place went to England with a 19-15 decision over Fiji on a last-second try by Charlton Kerr. The win vaults England to fourth in the Series standings which is also the final automatic qualifying spot for the 2020 Olympics. Scotland would lift the Challenge Trophy (9th place) with a 15-14 thriller over Spain.

With the Cup win, the USA moved five points clear of New Zealand at the top of the Series Standings at the halfway point. Fiji remains third, but now14 points adrift of the Eagles. England are now 30 points adrift of the USA in fourth and just a single point clear of South Africa in fifth. 

Next stop on the Sevens Series is Vancouver at BC Place on March 9-10.

Sydney Sevens Men’s Dream Team:

Sione Molia (NZL)

Martin Iosefo (USA)

Jerry Tuwai (FIJ)

Carlin Isles (USA)

David Afamasaga (SAM)

Steve Tomasin (USA)

Ben Pinkelman (USA)

Player of the Final:  Ben Pinkelman (USA)


Pool A:  USA, South Africa, 16th team, Wales

Pool B:  Samoa, Fiji, Kenya, Canada

Pool C:  New Zealand, Australia, Spain, France

Pool D:  Argentina, England, Scotland, Japan


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