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Monday, December 7, 2015

Dubai 7s: Eagles Player Grades

Grading the Eagles this season is going to be a little bit more difficult than in past year. That's the fault of the players, however. Thanks to their results--a third straight trip to the Cup semi-finals--more is expected off them. So when reading our grades, keep that in mind if they might seem low.

Garrett Bender (7): Quiet, Bender often goes under the radar. Both Andrew Durutalo and Danny Barrett have a bit more flair but flair aside, with both of those players out it was extremely obvious what contribution Bender makes to the team. Without Bender on the weekend the U.S. finish in the Bowl.

Brett Thompson (6.5): After dealing with injuries and spending some time away from the 7s Series it's taken Thompson awhile to get back to 7s form but he's back. He came up strong, especially in the air. He'll be needed even more this season to fill in for Durutalo. As he grows, so will the Eagles.

Take the jump to read more.

Matai Leuta (8): Someone should make "Leuta is my hero" shirts. The Eagles needed someone to step up this weekend and time and time again Leuta stepped up. He's such a powerful athlete and has a good rugby brain to go along with it.

Carlin Isles (6.5): The bench seems to suit Isles well. He's able to use his speed right when the defense is getting tired. Once again he scored some timely tries (specifically against South Africa). Defensively he's improving as well.

Nate Augspurger (6): Not a lot of time for Augspurger but when he was on he played well. In particular, he came on and started against New Zealand in the third place match. We all know how well that went and it's thanks to the readiness of players like Augspurger and others. The depth showed well this year.

Maka Unufe (7): Unufe is off to a strong start this year. He may not have been as consistent as he should be but he's not as in and out as in the past. Unufe can do so many things well and when the Eagles are clicking it's because Unufe is active. As Unufe goes, so go the Eagles.

Folau Niua (7): Niua is another pulse player. One of the most underrated elements of his game is his passing. He continually sets up teammates and finds the right pass at the right time. Defensively he's also picking up the pace.

Kevin Swiryn (6): Swiryn was another player that didn't see a lot of time. However, like the rest, he stepped in with no drop off. He was outstanding against New Zealand.

Zach Test (7.5): Test was his typical self yet again. He's a leader on and off the pitch. His hustle to make a tackle in a blowout win over Portugal saved the Cup quarterfinals for the Eagles. If every team had seven Tests they would never lose.

Madison Hughes (7): Like the rest of the team, Hughes was solid in many aspects. In terms of kicking, he was generally very good and he deserves special mention of his conversion against New Zealand to give them the win. That's ice in his veins.

Perry Baker (7.5): Sometimes players go through sophomore slumps. Baker showed no sign of that as he left off right where he was in London. He was the offensive threat for the Eagles over the weekend and he showed up in the right spots at the right time. Defensively he was also better but could improve some.

Will Holder (6): Holder is the final player not to see a ton of time. However, like Swiryn and Augspurger, when given a long time on the pitch against New Zealand he excelled.


  1. Any player grades for the Women's 7s team in Dubai?