Friday, June 8, 2018

Paris 7s: Eagles Look For Momentum

The Eagles head to the Paris 7s with three objectives in mind: earn as many Series points as possible, stay healthy, and gain momentum ahead of the Sevens World Cup this summer. Right now the U.S. sit in fifth place a good thirteen points behind Australia. They could leapfrog them but that would mean Australia falling apart and the U.S. doing very, very well. That might happen but most likely not. Realistically the Eagles want to head into San Francisco with lots of momentum and nothing does that better than a win. They could have had that last week in London had they not fallen asleep against Ireland in the quarterfinals. They are playing really well at the moment and are serious threats to win.

One of the reasons they are playing really well right is because they are starting to return to health (Madison Hughes is back) and that Carlin Isles is playing some fantastic rugby at the moment. Returning from injury is never an easy thing and it takes time to get back to full speed but that is what Isles is at now. With Isles going and the likes of Danny Barrett and others playing well the U.S. have what it takes to win a second stop this year.

Take the jump to read more.
The Team

As we mentioned above the U.S. has a really developed a deep team and a lot of players have stepped up this year. Kevon Williams and Malon Al-Jiboori have each made terrific contributions this season while having players like Brett Thompson and and Steve Tomasin at full health has helped as well. Overall the team has depth, speed, and strength to make things happen.

Squad: Danny Barrett, Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo, Carlin Isles, Malon Al-Jiboori, Chris Mattina, Folau Niua, Ben Pinkelman, Alex Schwarz, Faitala Talapusi, Brett Thompson, Steve Tomasin, Kevon Williams

The Opponents

Argentina (5:12 a.m. et/2:12 a.m. pt): Argentina are one of the teams that is gunning for points in the standings. Like the U.S. Argentina have had some fantastic tournaments this year (coming in second to the U.S. in Vegas) but they have also had some tournaments in which they've struggled. Those struggles have also been recently. They missed the quarterfinals the last two tournaments and only finished with two points in Singapore. The U.S. may be catching Argentina at the right time.

France (8:08 a.m. et/5:08 a.m. pt): France are another team that have struggled lately. They finished tied for last place in the last two tournaments. Their focus could be elsewhere but they are still struggling. The U.S. has had mixed success against France but they are catching France at a time when they look vulnerable.

England (1:58 p.m. et/10:58 a.m. pt): If the U.S. can win the first two matches then it should be the U.S. vs. England for the top spot in the pool. The U.S. played England last week and came out with a solid win. England would go on to make the top four while the U.S. faltered. England are only two points behind the U.S. in the standings and you know they will be wanting to leapfrog their rivals.

The Takeaway

For being the last tournament of the season and with not a strong chance to move up in the standings (although the possibility of dropping is real) there is pressure on the Eagles. That pressure comes from needing to do well in the World Cup this summer. First, the U.S. would like to do well in front of what should be a very strong home crowd. Second, they sort of need to do well in order to build momentum for U.S.A. Rugby. Lastly, this is a chance for 7s to show it can be the primary driver of new fans to the game and only if they U.S. does well will people really notice. Not doing well in the Olympics missed that boat. All of that said, we think the U.S. does very well this weekend.

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