February 23, 2016
Eagles 7s Camp Now – Vegas Next
Photo: Mike Friday
Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday is conducting a High Performance Camp at the Olympic Training Center February 23 to March 1. Twenty six athletes will be competing for the right to compete at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 5th leg, the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, Nevada. Another team, the USA Falcons, will compete in Las Vegas Invitational in the Americas Cups 7s, formerly the Men’s Elite Bracket. That bracket will include many National teams, as well as elite USA teams.
Of the twenty six players, nineteen are resident athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Will Holder and Ben Leatigaga are World-Class Athlete Program athletes, and five others invitees. Injuries have made Kevin Swiryn, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin and Nic Edwards unavailable. Nic received his first Eagles XV cap Saturday in the Americas Rugby Championship match against Chile, but was injured in the first half.
Mike Friday talked about Pat Blair and Nic Edwards being capped against Chile and indicated that “it’s great to see that Pat got capped and Nic got capped and scored, as well, but bittersweet for Nic, who’s been a fantastic serviceman for the sevens program and USA Rugby, to finally get his 15s cap but then to suffer that horrendous injury. Our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery, because he typifies everything about our group in terms of his resilience, his work ethic, his never-say-die attitude, and you saw that on the pitch in the way he went about his business on Saturday.”
Mike Friday and Chris Brown will conduct that camp. Phil Greening is part of the Eagles ARC coaches and is in South America with Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell.
Injuries have been a factor for the Eagles Sevens team and this opens opportunities for others to shine and be considered for selection for the USA Sevens. The Eagles find themselves in seventh place in the HSBC World Sevens Series standings after four legs.
Mike Friday went on to say, “we’ll focus on what we normally do. The reality is we need to be better at so many things following the last two legs. We’ve got some real themes in areas that we need to improve as a team but, individually, players have got to step up to the mark and start playing more consistently, making sure they do their jobs and execute the individual roles and responsibilities within the team.”
At the USA Sevens the Eagles will face Wales, Canada, and current Series leader South Africa at Sam Boyd Stadium, and the USA Falcons will play outside the Stadium in the Las Vegas Invitational tournament.
Mike Friday’s philosophy has been win or learn, so it isn’t surprising to listen to his expectations for both teams. “I’m expecting to field two strong teams – one to play on the Series and one to play in the invitational tournament – and I’m expecting the Falcons to win that tournament. It’s a real tough tournament and that’s a bold statement, but, if these boys want to be pushing for the World Series and these boys want to be in contention for Rio, they need to step up, put in big performances, and show the commitment to task and the mental aptitude to get the job done.”
“Likewise those that are given the opportunity to represent the Eagles in Vegas need to deliver. If they don’t, and somebody is worthy of having an opportunity on the back of their performances in the Falcons squad, then we will make the changes [prior to HSBC Vancouver Sevens] if need be.”
Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp: Feb. 23-March 1
Nate Augspurger – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Perry Baker – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Danny Barrett – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Garrett Bender – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Pat Blair – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Aaron Davis – 1823 Rugby
Seth Halliman – Central Washington University
Will Holder – U.S. Army World-Class Athlete Program
Madison Hughes – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Martin Iosefo – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Carlin Isles – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Tua Laei – Brigham Young University
Ben Leatigaga – U.S. Army World-Class Athlete Program
Matai Leuta – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Peter Malcolm – Wheeling Jesuit University
Jope Motokana – Seattle Saracens
Folau Niua – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Thretton Palamo – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Ben Pinkelman – Colorado State University
ConRoy Smith – Atlantis All Stars
Joey Sok – Columbus
Shalom Suniula – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Zack Test – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Peter Tiberio – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Chris Turori – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Maka Unufe – Men’s Eagles Sevens