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December 20, 2020

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Needing only one win to secure the series, the Schnuggle of Schnauzers took the pitch for the final day of the Golden Eagles Showdown and seemed to have match in hand through the first half. Racing out to a 19-0 lead thanks to unanswered tries from Matai Leuta, Danny Barrett and Maceo Brown. Leuta and Barrett both fast paced breakaways on the right flank, a common thread this past weekend. Madison Hughes was crafty at the restart in the early going as well, with a grubber and kick and chase to Malacchi Esdale, both resulting in points.

The second half saw more of the same with the Schnauzers extending their shutout to 26-0, however that would be when the Ridgebacks found their rhythm. Perry Baker began to do Perry Baker things with two tries off the breakaway. Quiet in the highlight reel type play through the series, Baker was able to find his space in the finale. A last try from Marcus Tupuola would put the Ridgebacks in a 7-point striking distance of a tie to extend the match, but a reaching penalty at 14 minutes gave Barrett a chance to kick to touch and end the threat. The Schnuggle of Schnauzers win and secure the Golden Eagles Showdown series, five games to two. Looking back on the series, it was a treat for fans to see the Men’s and Women’s Sevens return to the pitch in this fun and interesting intrasquad dynamic. For the team, the exhibition offered positive opportunity for veteran players to revisit their competition groove and similarly offer time for up-and-coming players to gain experience and put their hand up for 2021. The likes of Jacob Lachina, Christian Dyer, Malacchai Esdale, Nia Toliver and Ari Ramsey began to make names for themselves on the USA Eagles stage these past two weekends.

Both Sevens now break for holiday and look ahead to next year. While the past year was not what both teams expected, following a halt to programing and postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, each athlete this weekend showed coaches and fans alike that the determination to compete has not wavered in the slightest. USA Rugby would like to thank the team, staff, volunteers and all who brought this exhibition to life over the last two weekends. Onward to a promising 2021.