May 5, 2017
USA Men’s Eagles 7s Squad Selected for Paris & London 7s
The USA Men’s Eagles Sevens sit in fifth place after the eighth leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Mike Friday has selected his squad making two changes for the final two stops in Paris and London.
Danny Barrett will miss the last two stops with an injury. Don Pati returns to the team in which he made his debut in Dubai, while Alex Schwartz of Old Blue will debut at the HSBC Paris Sevens at State Jean-Bouin May 13-14. Eighteen year old Naima Fualaau will be the 13th man and will be available at the latter event.
The Eagles will be in Pool B at the Paris Sevens and start this stop against Argentina on Saturday, May 13, at 5:06 a.m. ET, with the live stream available to viewers in the United States on World Rugby’s website. Then they will play Wales at 8:32 a.m. ET before concluding pool play against New Zealand at 11:58 a.m. ET.
The USA enter Paris in fifth place with 101 points and will have Zealand in their sights in fourth place with 110 points. Being able to overtake New Zealand after the London Sevens, certainly has to be a goal in entering this Series. The Eagles Sevens can only control how they perform, with claiming the restarts, winning the ball at the breakdowns, executing a strong pressure defensive and counterattacking.
The USA side has been in four consecutive Cup Semifinals in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They translated these Semifinals into a Silver, Bronze and two fourth place finishes. Perry Baker, enters Paris in the season’s try-scoring lead with 41 tries. He was names to three Dream Teams in that span, while Barrett, Ben PInkelman, and Stephen Tomasin were named to that list.
The USA has already qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 at home in San Francisco, however the Eagles are playing to make history with a fourth place finish this year.
Mike Friday indicated to USA Rugby that “Our aim in these next 12 games is to try and break into the top four by the end of the season. It’s something we nor any other Tier 2 rugby-playing nation has done. We know how hard that challenge will be but we are capable if we commit and play to our potential and will give everything.”
The forwards will be asked to continue their strong work with Andrew Durutalo, Ben Pinkelman, and Stephen Tomasin leading and with Matai Leuta and Mike Te’o contributing when called upon. Alex Schwarz, who is a debutant with the team, will be expected to do likewise.
In addition to try scoring leader Perry Baker, Madison Hughes is also one of the Series points leaders. Maka Unufe provides an energy as a reserve that has made a difference whenever he enters a match. Don Pati also has demonstrated an ability to add tries.
Men’s Eagles Sevens: HSBC Paris Sevens – HSBC London Sevens
1. Alex Schwarz 2. Ben Pinkelman 3. Don Pati 4. Matai Leuta 5. Mike Te’o 6. Andrew Durutalo 7. Folau Niua 8. Maka Unufe 9. Stephen Tomasin 10. Madison Hughes (C) 11. Perry Baker 12. Martin Iosefo 13. Naima Fualaau
Men’s Eagles Sevens – HSBC Paris Sevens
v. Argentina – Saturday, May 13 @ 5:06 a.m. ET
v. Wales – Saturday, May 13 @ 8:32 a.m. ET
v. New Zealand – Saturday, May 13 @ 11:58 a.m. ET