USA Rugby Release – AALINA TABANI • SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
Seven players could earn their first cap in Head Coach Mike Friday’s young and exciting squad for Vancouver (Sept 18-19) and Edmonton (Sept 25-26) rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Led by Kevon Williams as Captain, the squad will face Canada, Germany and Chile in Pool C for the first official Series event since the pandemic hit in 2020.
Matches are streamed LIVE on NBC’s family of networks with exact channels to be confirmed later this week. Full schedule and info is available here.
- Five players bring Olympic experience in 2x Olympian Martin Iosefo and 2020 Olympians Matai Leuta, Cody Melphy, Joe Schroeder and Kevon Williams
- 2020 Olympic traveling reserves Naima Fuala’au and Malacchi Esdale are also named with Esdale among the new caps
- Christian Dyer earns his first sevens cap after four consecutive appearances with the Men’s XVs including recent World Cup qualifiers against Canada
- Gavan D’Amore makes his first senior team appearance after developing in the residency program for the last two years
- Four players were identified from this year’s Club 7s and Rugby Town 7s events including Adam Channel, David Still, Jack Wendling and Jerome Nale
- David Still and Jack Wendling represented the USA Under-23s at RugbyTown 7s
Head Coach Mike Friday said
“It has been a hectic first week in camp and a steep learning curve for the new boys. Credit to the residency squad who have integrated and assisted the guys in how we operate and the fundamental micro skills within the systems so they are better equipped to make good decisions on the pitch.
“The new guys have been enthusiastic, bringing real energy into the group as well as excitement at the prospect of playing. Off pitch they have worked hard on film and have probably had their full quota of Phil and my voice in those films.
“No doubt there will be bumps these coming weeks but these experiences are needed for the pack to grow, learn and improve as we attempt to make up for the lost 18 months. There will be others that no doubt will compete further down the track but these are the first to be blooded as we look to grow the depth.
“The success of The Nationals and RugbyTown provided us with a number of potential players to track. The upcoming Premier Rugby Sevens gives us another opportunity before we start our preparation for the 2022 season.
“As I have said before it is a credit to the players, community clubs colleges and programs such as the Colorado XO’s that we can see more talent that can be moulded and nurtured.”
2021 World Series Setup
Last week, World Rugby announced changes for the 2021 and 2022 HSBC Sevens Series. The 2021 season will now consist of only Vancouver and Edmonton events with an overall series winner to be named after Edmonton. Both tournaments feature 12 teams split into three pools in a format similar to the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2022 Series officially kicks off in Dubai with back-to-back men’s and women’s events on November 26-27 and December 3-4 of this year. Additional stops will be announced in the coming months.
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 also approaches in what has become an incredibly shortened cycle for international rugby sevens. Programs have less than one year until the World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa on September 9-11, 2022 with less than three years until the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024.
The USA will begin their Vancouver campaign against Canada, Chile and Germany. Canada recently finished 8th at the Tokyo Olympics after losing to the United States in the fifth-place semifinals, 14-21. Chile and Germany are both invitational teams and will be suitable tests for the youngsters in the group having come through the World Rugby Challenger Series in 2020. The Chileans finished fourth with the Germans claiming fifth before COVID-19 disrupted the annual competition.
USA Men’s Sevens Full Squad
Gavin D’Amore*Forward Uncapped
Christian Dyer*Forward/ Center uncapped
Malacchi Esdale*Wing Uncapped
Naima Fuala’auHalfback/8 IosefoCenter/Prop46
Jerome Nale* Halfback Uncapped
jack Wendling*Forward Uncapped Kevon WilliamsHalfback/Wing27
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Strength & Conditioning | Jon Hood
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Danielle Mah
USA Men’s Sevens Vancouver Schedule
Saturday, September 18
- vs Chile | 2:37 PM ET
- vs Germany | 5:48 PM ET
- vs Canada | 9:33 PM ET
Sunday, September 19
- Knockouts begin at 12:20 PM ET