The USA Men’s Falcons the Sudamerica Rugby Sevens tour with a fifth-place finish at the Punta del Este in Uruguay on Jan. 5-6 and a ninth-place finish at the Viña del Mar in Chile on Jan 12-13.
At the Punta del Este Sevens the Falcons went 2-2-1 overall. They opened with a 38-0 shutout win over Paraguay, a 26-point draw with Germany, and then lost to Chile 5-27 in pool play. In the Cup Quarterfinals, the USA lost to Argentina 31-7 and then beat Uruguay 17-0 in the 5th Place Semifinal.
After severe lightning, the Falcons and South Africa mutually agreed to base fifth place on a coin flip with the U.S. winning the toss.
At the Viña del Mar, the Falcons went 3-2 beating Canada 19-14 and then losing to Colombia 19-5 and Argentina 19-14 in pool play. In the knockout rounds, the Falcons beat Brazil 35-0 and Paraguay 26-5 to claim 9th place.
The Falcons were captained by Men’s Eagles Sevens player Cody Melphy with the rest of the team gaining valuable international experience. Their performance in South America serves as a measuring stick to evaluate their preparedness for the main HSBC Sevens Series circuit.
For Joe Schroeder, it was a return to competition for the first time since sustaining a season-ending injury at USA Sevens 2018. He made the most of the tour, scoring four tries. Travion Clark and Vice Captain Marcus Tupuola were the leading try scorers on tour.
The Men’s Sevens program enter the Hamilton Sevens in New Zealand ranked No. 1 in the world. They then travel to Australia for the Sydney Sevens. To maintain the momentum in the hope of Qualifying for the Olympics at the end of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the team will need depth. As such, players need to develop quickly.
The Sudamerica Sevens also served as a vehicle for the South American Winner to appear alongside the 15 core teams at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas and the Canada Sevens in Vancouver. Chile returns to both after winning both tournaments. Both Chile and Uruguay will also participate in the Hong Kong Sevens Series Qualifier, with the Tournament winner gaining core HSBC Sevens Series status in 2020.
USA Falcons Squad
- Ben Broselle, Wing, USA Sevens Academy/UCLA
- Travion Clark, Wing, Glendale Merlins
- Naima Fuala’au, Scrumhalf, Men’s Sevens Residency
- Maciu Koroi, Prop, Life University
- Johnny Mahe, Flyhalf, USA Sevens Academy
- Cody Melphy, Flyhalf, Men’s Sevens Residency
- Eric Naposki-Abdalah, Center, UCLA
- D’montae Noble, Flyhalf, Kutztown University
- Thomas Robles, Prop, Unattached
- Joe Schroeder, Prop, Men’s Sevens Residency
- Faitala Talapusi, Flyhalf, Men’s Sevens Residency
- Marcus Tupuola, Center, Men’s Sevens Residency
- Harley Wheeler, Hooker, Life University
- Austin White, Center, Life University
USA Men’s Falcons Staff
Head Coach | JD Stephenson
Assistant Coach | Brendan Keane
Strength & Conditioning Coach/Performance Analyst | Justin Goonan
Physiotherapist | Alex Burke
USA Men’s Falcons Results | Sudamerica Rugby Sevens 2019
Punta Del Este Sevens, Uruguay (Jan 5-6)
vs Paraguay | 38-0 (W)
Tries: Joe Schroeder, Austin White, D’montae Noble, Thomas Robles, Ben Broselle (2)
Cons: Cody Melphy (4)
vs Germany | 26-26 (D)
Tries: Harley Wheeler, Naima Fuala’au, Thomas Robles, Eric Naposki-Abdalah
Cons: Cody Melphy (2), Eric Naposki-Abdalah
vs Chile | 5-27 (L)
Tries: Marcus Tupuola
vs Argentina | 31-7 (L)
Tries: Ben Broselle
Cons: Naima Fuala’au
vs Uruguay | 17-0 (W)
Tries: Joe Schroeder, Harley Wheeler, Eric Naposki-Abdalah
Cons: Cody Melphy
Falcons finish in fifth-place after a coin toss with South Africa.
Viña del Mar Sevens, Chile (Jan 12-13)
vs Canada | 19-14 (W)
Tries: Marcus Tupuola (2), Travion Clark
Cons: Cody Melphy (2)
vs Colombia | 19-5 (L)
Tries: Cody Melphy
vs Argentina | 19-14 (L)
Tries: Marcus Tupuola, Travion Clark
Cons: Cody Melphy (2)
vs Brazil | 35-0 (W)
Tries: Joe Schroeder, Eric Naposki-Abdalah, Travion Clark (2)
Cons: Eric Naposki-Abdalah (4)
vs Paraguay | 26-5 (W)
Tries: Joe Schroeder, Austin White, Travion Clark, Marcus Tupuola
Cons: Cody Melphy (3)
Falcons finish in ninth-place.
About the USA Falcons Program
USA Falcons are the developmental teams for the senior men’s and women’s sevens programs who compete in domestic and international tournaments outside the main HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The teams serve as a support to the Senior Women’s and Men’s Eagles Sevens by building depth in the player pools for both programs and exposing new waves of athletes to international competition. Falcons competitions also provide more playing time for current national team players; streamlining the transition of new players to the senior programs with an interaction between various experience levels. The USA Falcons are equivalent in competition level to the USA Selects in 15s.