USA Sevens strong for Wellington
USA men's Rugby Sevens coach Alex Magleby has announced a settled squad of players to compete in Wellington, New Zealand at the Hertz Sevens on February 1-2, the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
One week out from their home event, the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, prop Matt Hawkins takes over the captaincy as the Eagles prepare to face Spain, England, and hosts New Zealand in pool play.
Ten of the 12 players formed part of the squad that finished with 10 points in South Africa, having reached the Cup quarter finals.
The two players added to the squad are Andrew Durutalo and Blaine Scully, replacing Nate Augspurger and Brett Thompson.
"It's great to welcome back Andrew and Blaine, two proven players who add another dimension to our attack," Magleby said.
Sprinter-turned-rugby Sevens star Carlin Isles, the Eagles' leading Eagles try-scorer this season, will also travel to New Zealand.
With 17 points from the first three events, the USA are ahead of fellow core teams England, Spain, and Scotland in the standings.
"It's an exciting pool. Spain had a good end to Port Elizabeth, they are aggressive at the ruck, good kick and chase, and run hard lines. They will be an exciting and tough challenge to start," added Magleby.
"England will be fighting to turn the ship around and has most of their stars back, including top try-scorer Mat Turner.
"We are looking forward to competing again and working to improve where we left off in Port Elizabeth. We are pleased with our continuing development and look forward to trying to build on that in this next round.
"We are looking forward to competing against the All Blacks as the last match of the evening in front of their home crowd.
"There is a lot of parity on the circuit, and we can learn from all three of those teams. We expect difficult matches but feel we can compete in all three if we continue to chase down a better performance with more consistent execution."
USA Men's Sevens, Wellington: Andrew Durutalo, Nick Edwards, Jack Halalilo, Matt Hawkins (c), Colin Hawley, Luke Hume, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Blaine Scully, Shalom Suniula,
Zach Test, Maka Unufe