USA Sevens residency squad announced for 2014
USA Rugby has announced both the men’s and women’s Eagles Sevens Olympic Residency squads for 2014 at the Olympic Training Centre.
Forty-three players - 25 men and 18 women - have accepted contracts to train at the OTC full-time and use the high performance facilities offered by the United States Olympic Committee two years out from Rugby Sevens' Olympic debut in Rio.
Zack Test, Nick Edwards and Folau Niua headline the men's squad of 25, which does include Carlin Isles, but there are some notable omissions including Colin Hawley.
“As we head towards the Pan Am Games in 2015 and Olympic qualification we are continuing to develop the USA Rugby/USOC residency programme at the Olympic Training Centre in San Diego,” said USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations, Nigel Melville.
“We appreciate the support that the USOC are providing for us and will continue to build competitive men’s and women’s Eagles Sevens teams during the next 12 months.
Matt Hawkins' tenure as head coach has so far produced modest results, the Eagles sitting 14th in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings after the first three tournaments in Australia, Dubai and South Africa.
“We have a squad list of 25, which is great for us. Normally we would have 15 guys, to have an extra 10 is phenomenal and it’s been a great effort from the administration to get that together," said Hawkins, whose side hosts the next round of the World Series, the USA Sevens in Las Vegas on 24-26 January.
The country's women will also host a round of their own World Series in Atlanta on 15-16 February.
“For all of the new guys, we’re expecting the same thing we expected from the guys who joined us four months ago. You’ve got to come in, get comfortable with the system, get to know what’s going on and start proving yourselves.
"We need to see where you are and what you can do as soon as possible. There’s no time to sit around and wait. Essentially, we’re looking to understand who you are and make you a complete rugby player in the sevens sense.”
Five athletes - Eric Deuchele, Ben Leatigaga, Andrew Locke, Nu'u Punimata and Marcus Savatu - will join Hawkins’ squad as part of the World Class Athlete Program, which provides outstanding Armed Forces athletes with support and training to compete and succeed in national and international competitions and in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The USA's next task will be their home round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, where they face pool matches against Argentina, France and Spain.
You can still get tickets for the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, which takes place on 24-26 January.
Men's Eagles, 2014 Sevens residency squad: Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Pat Blair, Carlin Isles, Eric Deuchele (WCAP), Andrew Durutalo, Nick Edwards, Tai Enosa, Pono Haitsuka, Jack Halalilo, Madison Hughes, Ben Leatigaga (WCAP), Andrew Locke (WCAP), Ryan Matyas, Ben Nicholls, Folau Niua, Nu'u Punimata (WCAP), Marcus Satavu (WCAP), Shalom Suniula, Mike Teo, Zack Test, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin, Chris Turori, Michael Ziegler