USA Men Name Roster For Sevens World Cup

Ben Pinkelman Ready To Win RWC 7s

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. — Last time they were on home soil, the Men's Eagles Sevens won the Cup Final at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, and USA Men's Sevens head coach Mike Friday will be hoping  the lineup he just named will do the job once more, this time at the Rugby World Cup 7s in AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Friday today named his squad of 12 along with two injury reserves for this coming weekend's tournament.

"It is a fantastic motivation and opportunity for the boys to be able to play a World Cup on home soil," Friday said. "If Vegas is anything to compare, having a passionate rugby crowd cheering the Dawgs on will only add to the motivation and pride they already have when they wear the shirt and represent their country."

Eight of the starting 12 are 2016 Rio Olympians, with three having suited up in the 15s Rugby World Cup in 2015. This brings big-time experience to complement familiar faces with strong resumes of their own.

The team is led by captain Madison Hughes, along with 2017 World Rugby Men's Sevens Player of the Year Perry Baker and 2017-18 World Series top try-scorer Carlin Isles.

With experience and speed also comes an anticipated homecoming for Danny Barrett, who grew up in the Bay Area, playing for Cal and San Francisco Golden Gate, and brings his bulldozing power to the USA effort.

Folau Niua is a player who is easy to overlook (despite haivng the best hair on the World Series circuit) but is one whom his teammates credit with getting the Eagles to where they are now. Kevon Williams has shown big-play ability as well.

With Matai Leuta and Maka Unufe fully recovered from injuries, the backline is one full of pace.

Chris Mattina and Pat Blair travel as the 13th and 14th men (respectively), ready to suit up as injury reserves.

"I am really pleased with the starting 12. All the boys went all out to push one another in this buildup and the camaraderie and competitive edge was first class," Friday said. "It has bought the best out of those chosen and we have a good balance of pace, power, and physicality to add to the positional flexibility in the squad. If we are fizzing, confident, and on point come match day, we will be contenders in this unforgiving format."

The unforgiving format Friday refers to is that the entire event is single elimination. While there are consolation brackets, it's pretty simple—lose, and you're not playing for gold. The only time a team can lose a game and still have a shot at hardware is in the semis, as the losing semifinalists play off for bronze (third). 

Being one of the top eight in the world, the USA gets a bye to the round of 16 and awaits the winner of Wales and Zimbabwe in a game to be played at 9:37 PM PT.

MEN'S EAGLES SEVENS ROSTER | RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018
(Including previous college/HS teams, and tries scored 2017-18 season)

1. Carlin Isles 2016 Rio Olympian, no college rugby, 49 tries

2. Ben Pinkelman, 2016 Rio Olympian, Colorado State/Cherry Creek, 11 tries

3. Danny Barrett, 2016 Rio Olympian/2015 RWC 15s, Cal/SFGG, 17 tries

4. Matai Leuta, First Major World Event, no college rugby,  8 tries

5. Brett Thompson, 2015 RWC 15s, Arizona/Tempe, 4 tries

6. Kevon Williams, First Major World Event, New Mexico Highlands, 14 tries

7. Folau Niua, 2016 Rio Olympian/2015 RWC 15s, East P{alo Alto U19s, 9 tries

8. Maka Unufe, 2016 Rio Olympian, United (Utah) U19s, 9 tries

9. Stephen Tomasin, First Major World Event, San Diego State, 15 tries

10. Madison Hughes (C), 2016 Rio Olympian, Dartmouth/Wellington College UK, 5 tries

11. Perry Baker, 2016 Rio Olympian, no college rugby, 37 tries

12. Martin Iosefo, First Major World Event, Montana/Rugby Hawaii, 22 tries

*Traveling injury reserves:  Chris Mattina (Delaware/Xavier HS) and Patrick Blair (Central Washington/Tacoma U19s)


MEN'S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF | RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018

Head Coach | Mike Friday

Assistant Coach | Chris Brown

Assistant Coach | Phil Greening

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Jon Hood

Performance Analyst | Paul Goulding

Athletic Trainer | Brian Green

Coach | JD Stephenson

Team Manager | Scott Novack

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