The USA Men’s National Team Sevens opens the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019-2020 season in Dubai on 5-7 December 2019. The matches will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Gold.
The Eagles Sevens finished second in the world last year and were the most consistent team on the circuit last season. In ten tournaments, the USA was the only nation to reach every semifinal and held a No. 1 world ranking for seven stops.
The Four straight silver, one gold and two bronze medals they achieved, matched the number of podium finishes the U.S. had claimed in its entire history on the World Series. The USA were the first team to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the world after a loss to Rio 2016 gold medalists Fiji in Paris.
The United States also featured with season-ending awards. Head Coach Mike Friday was named Men’s Coach of the Series, while Ben Pinkelman, Stephen Tomasin, and Folau Niua were selected to the Dream Team. Tomasin and Niua were both also nominated as Men’s Sevens Player of the Year in the larger World Rugby Awards. Carlin Isles and Danny Barrett rounded out the achievements with Isles as top try scorer for the second season in a row; and Barrett with the UL Mark of Excellence Award.
Head Coach Mike Friday has selected a squad of 13 players with the starting 12 to be finalized closer to tournament start, and the 13th man serving as injury cover.
Maka Unufe could return for his first series tournament since Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 after joining the group for two preseason tournaments in England at AFI Sevens and RugbyX. Naima Fuala’au last competed in Dubai at the start of the 2017-18 season.
Harley Wheeler could make his World Series debut after stints with the Collegiate All-American Sevens and Falcons programs. Wheeler helped the United States win bronze at the Pan American Games in Lima and played in the AFI Sevens and RugbyX. preseason events.
Ben Pinkelman and Martin Iosefo are not on the squad for Dubai or Cape Town as both work their way back into sevens training after Rugby World Cup Japan 2019. Folau Niua also remains out to continue his recovery from an injury sustained in Paris. All three players are all expected to return later this season.
The full squad has a cumulative total of 338 tournaments in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Eagles Sevens will face Ireland, the newest core team, 10th ranked Scotland and 5th place Australia in Pool B.
USA Squad, Position, & Tournaments Played
|Madison Hughes (Captain)||Halfback||47|
Head Coach Mike Friday
Assistant Coach Anthony Roques
Strength & Conditioning John Hood
Athletic Trainer Brian Green
Team Manager Scott Novack
HEAD COACH MIKE FRIDAY Comments
“Preseason as always is a healthy balance between trying to evolve and get better on and off the pitch and ensuring we are ready to cope with the long season ahead.
“As a group, we are comfortable with where we are at for this part of the season and we aim to continue building our depth as the season progresses to allow ourselves the best opportunity to compete in the World Series and Tokyo 2020.
“We realize we are far from the finished article and know we have much more work to do to ensure we are able to compete in what will be an even more competitive season for all.
“We will once again have to fight and earn every point this season in a Series where any team is capable of winning in any given day.”
vs Ireland | Dec 5 – 9:12 AM ET
vs Scotland | Dec 6 – 3:20 AM ET
vs Australia | Dec 6 – 9:12 AM ET