USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Sevens Dubai Squad
Mike Friday has selected a 14 man traveling squad for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at the Dubai Sevens, Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The team finished in sixth place at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018 after beating Wales, and losing to England and forcing them out of title contention. The team then beat Scotland, before losing to Argentina in the 5th/6th place match.
Despite the disappointment of not contending for the Cup, the team’s previous finish at a Rugby World Cup Sevens was 13th.
The 2018-2019 Sevens Series competition is important for another reason this year. The top four teams in the standings will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The USA can’t afford to take any team or tournament lightly and will need to perform to their highest caliber to achieve that goal.
The USA Men’s Eagles extended traveling group of athletes includes Maceo Brown and Marcus Tupuola, who performed well the developmental Men’s Falcons at the AF International Sevens and RugbyTown Sevens.
Perry Baker was nominated for his second-consecutive World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year honors. Depite missing some time at the end of the series season, he still finihsed 5th in tries scored with 37 tries. Fellow speedster Carlin Isles finshed first in tries scored with 49 and 4th in total points scored with 247. Both Baker and Isles accounted for 41% of all tries scored by the USA men.
Folau Niua is expected to make his 60th World Rugby Sevens Series appearance and he is one player whose leadership and the ability to kcik restarts accurately with either foot, has lead to the USA being the Series restart leader in manintaining possession.
Captain Madison Hughes will make his first appearance for the senior Men’s Sevens program in four months.
In Pool play the team will face Spain, Wales and World Champion New Zealand.
The team wil face Spain first at 12 AM ET on Day One. The Spanish side missed Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and concluded their World Series run in 11th place last season. Wales will follow at 3 am ET. They finished 11th at the RWC7s and in 14th place in the Series last year. The team then concludes pool play against New Zealand, who won back-to-back World Cup 7s Cahmpionship and who finished 3rd in the SEries last year. That match will be a 9:22 am ET.
Prior to the season, the Eagles Sevens lost their Assistant Coach Chris Brown, who became the Women’s Eagles Sevens head Coach.
Head Coach Mike Friday Comments
On going into a new season…
“New season new challenge. It has been an interesting preseason for us given the changes to preparation and personnel that we have implemented to help us continuously evolve. We have also experienced a few unnecessary distractions which as a group we have had to contend with.”
On the main goal …
“Olympic qualification is the target for us in what will be an even more competitive season and I have no doubt the standard will improve once again. To try and continue to move forward we need to strive to achieve a consistency to our game in all matches and seek to eradicate any drops in performance during the same tournaments that hurt us last season. We are confident that if we can remain healthy and resilient to the challenge, we have what it takes to compete for every cup.”
On the potential two new debutants Marcus Tupuola and Maceo Brown…
“Both Marcus and Maceo have done remarkably well and worked very hard all summer to get this opportunity. Firstly this is a testament to JD Stephenson’s talent identification work which put both in the Collegiate All-American pathway and in front of us at RugbyTown Sevens these last two years.”
Men’s Eagles Sevens Extended Roster: Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Maceo Brown*, Madison Hughes (Captain), Martin Iosefo, Carlin Isles, Matai Leuta, Cody Melphy, Folau Niua, Ben Pinkelman, Brett Thompson, Steve Tomasin, Marcus Tupuola*, Kevon Williams
*Could make their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance. All players are part of the Men’s Sevens residency program.
Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony “Rocky” Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack
Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Schedule
Pool C – Broadcast LIVE on ESPN Networks (exact network TBD)
vs Spain Fri, Nov. 30 – 12 AM ET
vs Wales Fri, Nov. 30 – 3 AM ET
vs New Zealand Fri, Nov. 30 – 9:22 AM ET