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200 For Isles, And The Game-Winner

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200 For Isles, And The Game-Winner

Carlin Isles on his way to #200. David Barpal photo.

Well the USA needed something after a rough outing against Samoa in the opening round of the LA Sevens.

The Eagles fell behind 12-0 to Samoa, with a little bit of a defensive breakdown, and then a slightly flukey play for the Samoans, when a loose ball from a lineout just bounced Samoa's way.

But the Eagles rebounded. A strong run from Martin Iosefo set up a charge from Stephen Tomasin.

The Eagles got a second try to tie it up at 12-12 (Ben Pinkelman ended a long attacking period started by a superb restart win by Perry Baker).

But in the second alf, Samoa cut through to take the lead once more—penalties hurting the USA effort.

And then it happened. Baker, sitting on 199 career tries, got little running room and mostly had to defend. He came off and Carlin Isles came on. The speedster was given a little psace and off he want, outstripping the Samoan defense and scoring under the posts. Try 200 for Isles, conversion by Madison Hughes, and a 19-17 win.

He said it didn't matter about the 200. What mattered was the process and what the team could accomplish.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#carlinisles gets 200 but more importantly ... The game winner vs Samoa. #worldrugbysevens #lasevens

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For Tomasin, the game was a rough one, but not frustrating.

"It's sevens; sometimes you go down two scores and you've got to play your way ut of the hole," said the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year nominee. "We didn't have the ball early in that game and it's hard to play sevens when you don't have the ball."

Tomasin's try brought the momentum back to the USA side a little, at least, and he pointed out that the Eagles have come back from 21-0 down before, so 12-0 wasn't much to panic about.

"We needed to stay in the fight; we kind of made it our goal to keep our own ball and not lose any balls in the ruck," said Tomasin. "We need to be more ruthless in attack but as a physical challenge [Samoa] is about as good as it gets."

And at the end of the game, the USA perhaps put in its best sequence, keeping the ball moving and not getting into trouble. Isles didn't get himself isolated and everyone was in support, and that, more than anything, allowed the Eagles to close it out 19-17.