November 24, 2015
USA Men’s Eagles 7s Squad For Dubai & Cape Town
Logo: USA Rugby
The 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series begins December 4-5 with the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in the United Arab Emirates.
During the 2014-15 season, the Eagles were the surprise team, as they finished 6th in the world. Mike Friday has prepared the team to believe that they will contend for each series title. That came to fruition by winning their first Cup Final at the Marriott London Sevens in May.
The Eagles 7s were selected for the first two legs of the series in Dubai and in Cape Town, South Africa. Madison Hughes will captain an experienced side, with Garrett Bender, Will Holder, Matei Leuta, Zack Test and Brett Thomson anchoring the forwards. In addition to Hughes, the backs will include Nate Augspurger, Perry Baker, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Kevin Swiryn and Maka Unufe.
Kevin Swiryn last played for the Eagles 7s six years ago, but has returned from injuries and has played the last three years for the Seattle Saracens.
Brett Thompson also returns to the series. After signing a professional contract with Edinburgh, his professional season was cut short with an injury during the USA versus All Blacks match in 2014. He did return as part of the 13 man squad to the NACRA Sevens and then most recently was a member of the USA Rugby World Cup side.
Mike Friday, Chris Brown and the rest of his coaching staff, have had the opportunity to develop an Eagle player pool by watching the Club 7s National Championship, the Serevi RugbyTown 7s, the Elite City 7s and the Halloween 7s. High Performance camps were also held. Developing a player pool is critical to develop the talent needed for the future.
The future is also now in the sense that the Olympics will be held in August. That carrot will drive teams to be at peak performance at that event. Hopefully, the USA will be standing on the podium in the end.
The Olympics must remain in the distance as the Eagles 7s begin the new Sevens Series competition. The Eagles that take the pitch in Dubai are the best players that are available. They will be the ones to seize the momentum in play.
The team in a very tough Pool C with Portugal, France and New Zealand. They face Portugal first, who have had wins against several higher ranked teams. France will come next. They have been a contender on the circuit for some time. Finally, New Zealand will be the last Pool match. They, along with Fiji and South Africa, have been among the best sevens teams in the world.
It is hoped that the Eagles 7s take the pitch and attack and defend as they are capable. That will set the tone for the first leg.
USA Men’s Eagles Sevens Squad
1. Carlin Isles
2. Matai Leuta
3. Brett Thompson
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Kevin Swiryn
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Will Holder
Men’s Eagles Sevens – Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens
v. Portugal – Friday, Dec. 4 – 1:52 a.m. ET
v. France – Friday, Dec. 4 – 5:36 a.m. ET
v. New Zealand – Friday, Dec. 4 – 10:58 a.m. ET