Simple Job Ahead For USA Men 7s
Simple Job Ahead For USA Men 7s
The fifth-ranked Men's Eagles Sevens will begin the final stop of the 2017-18 HSBC World Sevens Series this Saturday, June 9 at Paris Sevens. Currently 13 points behind fourth-place Australia after finishing sixth at Paris sevens, the squad has one last chance to deliver a compelling performance ahead of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco this July 20-22.
The USA did well enough last week in London, although the team was shocked by Ireland, which came into the event as the 16th team, somewhat cold, and made it to 3rd. But a tie with Kenya and wins over England and France served to get the Eagles into the Cup Quarterfinals and also served to put some distance between them and teams close in the standings (Kenya, France, and Argentina).
On Day Two the USA was beaten by Ireland 22-12, defeated Canada 27-19, and then lost to New Zealand, with World Series try-leader Carlin Isles coming out hurt.
Following an ankle injury sustained in London, Matai Leuta has traveled home and Alex Schwarz joins the team in his stead. Schwarz debuted last year at the 2017 Paris Sevens tournament and will join the squad on the Sevens series circuit for the first time this season. Whether Schwarz will serve as the 13th man or part of the starting 12 will be determined closer to tournament start.
Martin Iosefo, named a DHL Impact Player from his performance in London, scored his 50th career try last week and continues to climb up the points chart with the 108 he currently owns this season. Along with Iosefo, Kevon Williams continues to breakout himself. Williams scored three tries last week and currently stands at 65 points on the season.
But it was good to see Madison Hughes back on the field, and the captain had a strong return to action in London. Isles appears to have passed a Head Injury Assessment and should be available.
The Job At Hand
The job in front of the USA is to do better than England. By outstripping England, the Eagles will be able to secure 5th place in the World Series standings. The USA was 105 points in the standings, England 103, and Kenya 101. So it's just a case of being better than, or equal to, those teams.
"We know where we sit in the World Series Standings and our focus is to compete and look to chase down Australia in 4th place," said head coach Mike Friday, who is being wildly optimistic because the USA needs Australia to crash and burn for that to happen. "Whilst whether we can achieve that is not within our control, chasing the Cup and securing 5th is, albeit a huge task."
Friday has had injury problems every single stop on the tour, and this one is no different, with Perry Baker still out.
"We've had a season of injuries like no other which has stretched and stressed the squad. In this adversity, we have seen a number of players step in and step up, growing our depth, as well as encouraging players within the team to have the flexibility and confidence to play multiple roles. This will stand us in good stead and credit to the boys for the challenges they have embraced over this last season. It's been the theme of our season that we've been in some tough groups and this is no exception. We are more than capable of progressing, although a hugely physical Argentina who nearly toppled Fiji in game one last week, hugely competitive and competent England team, along with France at home means we cannot afford any of the bubbles of concentration and application we suffered from last week."
MEN'S EAGLES SEVENS ROSTER | 2018 PARIS SEVENS
Danny Barrett | 87pts
Madison Hughes (C) | 78pts
Martin Iosefo | 108pts
Carlin Isles | 217pts
MalonAl-Jiboori | 10pts
Chris Mattina | 0pts
FolauNiua | 141pts
Ben Pinkelman | 55pts
Alex Schwarz | 0pts
FaitalaTalapusi | 0pts
Brett Thompson | 15pts
Stephen Tomasin | 123pts
KevonWilliams | 65pts