Eagles Sevens recall Palefau and Thompson
USA Sevens head coach Alex Magleby has announced his 12-man squad for rounds six and seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The squad features only two changes from their home tournament in Las Vegas in February with Mike Palefau and Brett Thompson earning recalls, while Matt Hawkins will captain the side at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 22-24 March and the Tokyo Sevens a week later.
The USA Eagles Sevens side are currently 13th in the overall standings with 28 points but had their best performance of the season on home soil as they reached the Las Vegas Plate semi finalists in February. Magleby's side face matches with France, Kenya and Series leaders New Zealand.
“The guys have been hard at work building on where we left off in Las Vegas,” Magleby said.
“We are getting closer to our goals. It will be an exciting challenge to put together improved performances against quality opponents who have also been improving and, of course, we want to add crucial Series points. We can’t wait to compete again.”
Thompson last played for USA in round three in Port Elizabeth, having made his Series debut at this season’s Gold Coast Sevens, and returns after performing well for the US Falcons at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Palefau also returns after performing at the LVI and is taking a break from his club season. He ended the 2011/12 Series as the USA's leading try and points scoer.
“Brett is a quality athlete and he has really started to play some confident rugby over the last month,” Magleby added.
“Mike played well for the Serevi Olympic Development Academy at the Las Vegas Invitational and we welcome back his speed, athleticism and work-rate in the tackle area.”
The Eagles will meet Kenya for the first time on this year’s circuit in their opening match, and last faced France at the Dubai Sevens in November, who they will play second. They have already met New Zealand the pool stages at the Gold Coast Sevens and Hertz Sevens.
USA Men’s Eagle Sevens: Andrew Durutalo, Nick Edwards, Jack Halalilo, Matt Hawkins (Captain), Colin Hawley, Luke Hume, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Mike Palefau, Shalom Suniula, Zach Test, Brett Thompson
Series qualifying explained: Hong Kong & London
From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong (round 6) and a final core team qualifier in London (round 9).
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will feature 28 teams and two competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, Hong Kong, will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second, 12 regional teams - two from each of the six IRB regions - will compete for four places at the core team qualifying final in London.
The Marriott London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions: In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th-, 14th- and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.