USA Rugby Eagles 7s Men & Women Look Toward Winning NACRA 7s & Qualifying for the Olympics
Doug Coil June 9, 2015
The North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens rugby tournament will be held this weekend, June 13-14th, at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The tournament serves as North American Regional Olympic Qualifier, one of 6 Regional qualifiers for teams that did not finish in the top 4 standings after the World Rugby Sevens Men’s- HSBC series or the Women’s series.
At the end of the World Rugby Sevens Series, the Men’s top 4 teams were Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England. The USA finished 6th in the standings, a significant improvement from last year’s 13th place finish.
For the Women, the top 4 teams were New Zealand, Canada, Australia and England. The USA actually tied England with 76 points, but came in 5th after a 15-14 loss at Amsterdam to England.
Brazil is hosting the Olympics during August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. As such, the host country is also part of the 12 men’s and women’s team that will compete for Olympic glory.
This past weekend the South American Regional was held. Undefeated Argentina (Men) and Colombia (Women) also have now qualified as regional winners.
At the end of the Regional Qualifiers, there will be one global repechage that consist a tournament with 16 Men’s and Women’s teams. The winner will qualify as the 12th team. The 16 teams for that tournament that will be selected from each region are as follows: South America 2, Asia 3, Africa 3, Europe 4, North America 2 and Oceania 2. As a result of the CONSUR South American Regional Tournament, Uruguay & Chile will represent the men and Argentina & Venezuela, the women in the repechage.
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It has been a good year for both the Men’s & Women’s Eagles 7s. The Men improved on their performance in the HSBC Sevens World Series standing to 6th from 13th a year ago. The men also just won their first Cup at the London 7s. The Women tied England for 4th in the World Rugby Sevens Women’s Series, but finished 5th after a narrow loss to England in the Netherlands.
Mike Friday, along with Chris Brown and Alex Magleby, deserve congratulations for developing a culture and a program where the men now enter tournaments believing they are competing as contenders to win. Ric Suggitt, the USA Women’s Eagles 7s Head Coach also has his squad’s performance improve during the season.
When reflecting on the Men’s Eagles challenge of qualifying for the Olympics, Madison Hughes, the Men’s Eagles 7s Captain, indicated in an interview with Dartmouth College Recreation, that as good it was to win the London 7s, that the NACRA 7s is even bigger.
“I told the guys shortly after London, this is amazing and no one is happier about this than I am, but I can tell you that if in a month we lose in North Carolina, we will look back on this with an incredibly bitter sweet feeling because there will be a sense that if we didn’t have this success, maybe we would have pushed ourselves to go and win in North Carolina.”
Let’s hope that the Eagles win the NACRA 7s, as that would be hindsight.
Madison continues to say that the NACRA 7s highlights the sacrifices that team members have made in the quest of their Olympic dream. “It is absolutely everything. Pretty much everyone on the team is not pursuing contracts in Europe and all that because they want to be in the Olympics. It is something we’ve talked about all year and something we’ve worked hard for all year. Every conditioning session we are doing, in the back of our mind we have been thinking that come June 13 and 14 we have to be in position where we can qualify for the Olympics.”
In the end Mike Friday is also pushing for a meaningful wage for our athletes to improve their quality of life and also to ward off the Europeans professional clubs in the mean time.
This brings us to the focus of the NACRA 7s where the matches will be streamed live via USA Rugby TV http://www.usarugbytv.com
There are favorites for this event. For the men, it is expected that the USA Eagles 7s will meet Canada in the final, while the USA Women are clear favorites. Canada has selected a strong side, but it is hoped that the USA’s speed and cohesion will be the deciding factor in the end.
Men: Mike Friday has selected a 13 man traveling squad today, June 9th, that will be narrowed to 12.
Women: Ric Suggitt announced the 12 person squad yesterday.
USA Men Eagles 7s
1 Nate Augspurger
2 Perry Baker
3 Danny Barrett
4 Garrett Bender
5 Andrew Durutalo
6 Madison Hughes, Captain
7 Martin Iosefo
8 Carlin Isles
9 Folau Niua
10 Zack Test
11 Brett Thompson
12 Maka Unufe
13 Chris Wyles
Women Eagles 7s
1 Joanne Fa’avesi
2 Kelly Griffin
3 Kate Zackary
4 Alev Kelter
5 Dana Meschisi
6 Lauren Doyle
7 Kristen Thomas
8 Richelle Stephens
9 Melissa Fowler
10 Hannah Lopez
11 Lorrie Clifford
12 Carmen Farmer
USA Men’s Pool Schedule
Saturday June 13
1:22pm ET Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sunday June 14
USA Women’s Pool Schedule
Saturday June 13th
4:28pm Cayman Islands
Men Pool A
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Men’s Pool B
Trinidad and Tobago
Women’s Pool A
Women’s Pool B
Trinidad and Tobago
NACRA 7s Match Schedule
Matches will be held at the Main Stadium (MS) and in Koka Booth Stadium (KB)
Saturday June 13th ET
11am (MS) Men- Mexico v St Vincent
11am (KB) Men – Barbados v Jamaica
11:22am (MS) Men – Guyana v Bahamas
11:22am (KB) Trinidad & Tobago v Cayman Islands
11:44am (MS) Women- USA v Jamaica
11:44am (KB) Women- Cayman Islands v Barbados
12:06pm (MS) Women- Mexico v Bahamas
12:06pm (KB) Women- Trinidad & Tobago v Guyana
1:22pm (MS) Men – USA v St Vincent
1:22pm (KB) Men – Mexico v Jamaica
1:44pm (MS) Men – Canada v Bahamas
1:44pm (KB) Men – Guyana v Cayman Islands
2:06pm (MS) Women – USA v Barbados
2:06pm (KB) Women – Cayman Islands v Jamaica
2:28pm (MS) Women – Trinidad & Tobago v Bahamas
2:28pm (KB) Women – Mexico v Guyana
3:44pm (MS) Men – USA v Barbados
3:44pm (KB) Men – Jamaica v St Vincent
4:06pm (MS) Canada v Trinidad & Tobago
4:06pm (KB) Cayman Islands v Bahamas
4:28pm (MS) Women – USA v Cayman Islands
4:28pm (KB) Jamaica v Barbados
4:50pm (MS) Women – Mexico v Trinidad & Tobago
4:50pm Bahamas v Guyana
6:06pm (MS) Men – USA v Mexico
6:06pm (KB) Men – Barbados v St Vincent
6:28pm (MS) Canada v Guyana
6:28pm (KB) Trinidad & Tobago v Bahamas
Sunday June 14th
9am (MS) Men – USA v Jamaica
9am (KB) Men – Mexico v Bahamas
9:22am (MS) Men – Canada v Cayman Islands
9:22am (KB) Men – Guyana v Trinidad & Tobago
9;44am (MS) Women – Pool A 1st place v Pool B 2nd Place
9:44am (KB) Women – Pool B 3rd Place v Pool A 4th Place
10:06am (MS) Women – Pool A 2nd Place v Pool B 1st place
10:60am (KB) Women – Pool B 4th Place v Pool A 3rd Place
11:45am (MS) Men Semi-Final – Pool A 1st Place v Pool B 2nd Place
11:45am (KB) Men Semi-Final Pool B 3rd Place v Pool A 4th Place
12:07pm (MS) Men Semi-Final Pool A 2nd Place v Pool B 1st Place
12:07pm (KB) Men Semi-final Pool B 4th Place v Pool A 3rd place
12:29pm (MS) Women Semi-Final Match 13 Winner v Match 15 Winner
12:29pm (KB) Women Semi-Final Match 13 Loser v Match 15 Loser
12:51pm (MS) Women Semi-Final Match 14 Winner v Match 16 Winner
12:51pm (KB) Women Semi-Final Match 14 Loser v Match 16 Loser
The remaining matches are in the Main Stadium.
2:30pm Men 9th Place
2:52pm Women 7th Place
3:14pm Men 7th Place
3:36pm Women 5th Place
3:58pm Men 5th Place
4:20pm Women 3rd Place
4:42pm men 3rd Place
5:04pm Women 1st Place
5:34pm Men 1st Place