|Photo David Barpal|
Eagles 7s head coach Mike Friday has made two changes to his team as they get ready for Hong Kong and Singapore. Mike Te'o comes back into the team after a couple of years absence while Anthony Welmers also returns to the team. Te'o was excellent for San Diego in PRO Rugby and that carried over into play with the Eagles 15s over the last year. Now he'll have a chance to bring his playmaking ability to 7s. Welmers has been around camp for awhile and even played in Cape Town. Pat Blair and Walt Elder miss out this go around.
The rest of the team remains the same. Season ending knee surgery has Carlin Isles out and Zack Test is similarly out. Maditon Hughes will once again captain the team and a core group of players like Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Andrew Durutalo, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Perry Baker, and Martin Iosefo are all on the team.
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Malon Al-Jiboori will once again by the 13th man. He will be playing for Samurai at the Hong Kong 10s. It will be interesting to see if any other Americans play in the tournament. Usually a few players with U.S. connections pop up.
"We are happy with our progress and how we are holding ourselves on the pitch and on the circuit as at present, with all the uncontrollables we are currently having to deal with, we are doing well to be in the top five chasing the top four," Friday said in a U.S.A. Rugby press release. "The boys are working hard and applying ourselves as, ultimately, we were disappointed we did not make both finals and the reason being not dealing with those critical moments when they presented themselves."
The U.S. will play Russia, Scotland, and Argentina in pool play starting on April 7th.
Squad: Anthony Welmers, Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Mike Te'o, Andrew Durutalo, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Madison Hughes, Perry Baker, Martin Iosefo, Malon Al-Jiboori (traveling reserve)