Monday, July 18, 2016

Surprise Trio Make The Cut As Eagles Name Rio Squad

Chris Wyles, Andrew Durutalo, and Nate Ebner have made the cut as the Eagles have named their squad for the Olympics. They join regular Sevens Series veterans Madison Hughes, Zack Test, Folau Niua, Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Make Unufe, Perry Baker, Carlin Isles, and Ben Pinkelman on the roster. While Durutalo's selection is less of a surprise given his key presence on the Eagles over the past few years before playing Super Rugby this year the selections of both Wyles and Ebner--Wyles hasn't played on the Series in years while Ebner only played sparingly this year--are more of a surprise. That said, the lengthy Olympic camp gave them a chance to get 7s fit and show what they can do.

The rest of the squad is the core of the team that has played on the Sevens Series. Madison Hughes, who will captain the team, Zach Test, Folau Niua, and company of blossomed into stars over the last few years, even winning the London 7s in 2015. This group of players has essentially played every tournament together over the last two years and that familiarity is only going to help them next month.

Take the jump to read more.
The team will head to a camp in Florida for a week where they will scrimmage with New Zealand. Traveling with the team in an effort to make one of the three reserve spots (there is a chance to swap out players during the tournament) are Nate Augspurger, Will Holder, Martin Iosefo, Thretton Palamo, and Shalom Suniula. Each of those players has deep experience on the Series.

"It's a huge honor to represent your country at any time in your life, but to be given the responsibility at the Olympic Games - the biggest sporting event on the planet - makes it even more special," said head coach Mike Friday in a U.S.A. Rugby press release. "The fact that we will be part of Team USA and that as a result we will be exposing the USA sporting public to another team sport they can engage with and enjoy watching, as well as passionately support their country, is immense.

"The boys fully appreciate the accountability that comes with that responsibility and are looking forward with confidence to those challenges. While we are not the pre-tournament favorites like Fiji who have to play with that expectation, we are a team who are hugely respected and feared by all other countries as genuine contenders. We know that on any given Sunday we have the power, pace and physicality to match and beat anyone. The boys recognize the magnitude of the task but are confident that we can be medal contenders if we play to our ability. We will represent the people of the USA in a way that they expect and deserve, exhibiting the characteristics that will make them proud."

The team travels to Brazil on August 1st with pool play beginning on August 9th.

Squad: Madison Hughes, Zack Test, Folau Niua, Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Maka Unufe, Perry Baker, Carlin Isles, Andrew Durutalo, Chris Wyles, Nate Ebner, Ben Pinkelman

Reserves (three will travel to Rio): Nate Augspurger, Will Holder, Martin Iosefo, Thretton Palamo, Shalom Suniula

1 comment:

  1. Very surprised Durutalo had the fitness to make the team. With him back to his ole poaching self, this team is now very dangerous.