USA Sevens opt for experience
After a week's camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, coach Al Caravelli has selected an experienced USA Sevens squad to compete at the last two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in London on 21-22 May and Edinburgh on 28-29 May.
In the past Caravelli has opted for a young squad for the final stops of the Series, but this season the 12-player squad is steeped in speed, experience, size and physicality.
The only player in the squad from the college ranks is Cameron Dolan, the dominant number 8 from Life University’s College Premier Division side, and he has been on Caravelli’s radar since turning in the Under 17s.
“Cam is a unique kind of player. He’s a true forward with the speed of a back. I’m excited to see him break onto the international scene,” Caravelli said of the 21-year-old.
Mike Palefau and Nese Malifa are back in top form according to the coach, and their considerable experience and expertise will be an asset to the team.
The last time Malifa was with the squad was last year in Adelaide, when the USA played in its first ever Cup final after beating England, Wales and Argentina. Palefau’s last time with the team was in 2009.
The team will be led by captain Matt Hawkins once again and he will be accompanied by the usual suspects in this year’s Series - Paul Emerick, Shalom Suniula, Zack Test, Miles Craigwell, Tai Enosa (returning after missing out in Hong Kong and Adelaide), Colin Hawley, and Roland Suniula.
All but four of the players named attended Eddie O'Sullivan's pre-Rugby World Cup 15-a-side domestic camp on 4-8 May - the exceptions being Hawkins, Craigwell, Dolan and Boyd.
Test and Emerick have 20 and 15 tries in the Series so far respectively, putting them among the elite try-scorers this season.
The Eagles have tough opponents in both London and Edinburgh, including both the host nations, England and Scotland, at home.
In England the USA will play pool opponents England, Argentina, and France and a week later they line up on day one against Samoa, Fiji, and hosts Scotland.
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Squad: Matthew Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), Paul Emerick (Life), Shalom Suniula (Brisbane/USA Men’s Sevens), Zack Test, Miles Craigwell (NYAC), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Cameron Dolan (Life), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Roland Suniula (Boston)
Tickets are still available for both days, 21-22 May, at Twickenham Stadium from £15 via rfu.com/london7s