With Baker Out, USA 7s Team Focusing On Execution Problems, Ruck Penalties

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USA sevens star Perry Baker is back stateside after failing his head injury assessment following the Eagles' opening game in the Dubai Sevens last Friday.

Baker looked as if he had suffered a concussion after making a tackle in the Eagles' 22-14 loss to Argentina and appeared very wobbly on the sideline. He did not take any further part in the tournament. Now, USA coach Mike Friday has confirmed that Baker won't play in the HSBC World Series' upcoming stop in Cape Town, South Africa, this weekend, and former New Mexico Highlands University and current Denver Barbarians star Kevon Williams will replace him.

That increased the USA squad back to 13, with 12 players getting named for the actual tournament roster for the Cape Town Sevens. Williams, who played for the USA in the Silicon Valley Sevens warmup tournament, will likely be vying for playing time with Life West's Maanaima Fuala'au, who was the 13th player in Dubai and entered the game when Baker went down.

FloRugby Interviews Eagles Sevens Coach Mike Friday:

Mike Friday Wants More From 4-0 Eagles

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Friday said that losing Baker was tough, but it wasn't the reason for his team's 0-5 showing in Dubai.

"There were a number of things not within our control," the coach said. 

Among Friday's chief complaints in the tournament were the penalties called in the breakdown in the USA's 26-14 loss Samoa on Friday, for which he eventually received an apology (which doesn't change the score).

"We all fully recognize and take responsibility that we will did not perform to our standards, and paid the price for our lack of accuracy, especially in attack," Friday said. "The game of sevens is ruthless, and if you are slightly off in this World Series you get nothing and that is how it was."

Friday said he struggled also with some of the breakdown interpretations in Saturday's game against Canada (a 10-5 overtime loss) but acknowledged that the team's final effort, a 31021 loss to Wales, was just flat poor.

"The Wales first half was as bad as I have seen us play," he said. "We do have to see it for what is is and we are hugely determined as group to right the wrongs this week and will use last week's adversity as the fuel to drive us through this week and the weekend."

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Round 4: Super Rugby Aotearoa/AU Team of the Week

Codie Taylor, Crusaders

With the Australian Super Rugby teams entering the fold this week, the Super Rugby Team of the Week selection just got a whole lot tougher. There were plenty of great performances over the weekend, and a few names on the sheet that continue to show up week in and week out. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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10 Monday Notes: Hot Seats In NZ, Super Rugby Kicks Off In AUS

Reds, Harry Wilson

The gifts keep on coming, as Super Rugby AU's new season just got underway this past weekend with two scintillating matchups, while Super Rugby Aotearoa once again dazzled fans. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Houston Sabercats

Houston Sabercats

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

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Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

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TWO UNBEATENS REMAIN: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 4 Preview

Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders

Through three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it's the Blues and the Crusaders who still remain unbeaten, while the Chiefs and the Hurricanes are still in search of a first victory on the season. The Highlanders, meanwhile, sit at 1-1 after two heart-stopping fixtures against the Chiefs and the Blues. 

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Date Set For New Zealand's North vs South Island Battle

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For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Colorado Raptors

Colorado Raptors

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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Could New Zealand Be Hosting The Entire 2020 Rugby Championship?

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With much of the world shut down still thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are swirling that New Zealand could be home to the entire 2020 Rugby Championship. The past three weeks have seen the beginning of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition involving just the four New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. 

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