Craigwell returns for Hawkins' USA squad
New USA Sevens head coach Matt Hawkins has selected his first squad for the upcoming Fiji Centenary Tournament in Suva and the Gold Coast Sevens, the first round of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The side includes the likes of Carlin Isles, Zack Test, Nick Edwards, Jack Halalilo and Folau Niua, who all played at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.
There is also a return to the USA Sevens squad for Miles Craigwell, who has been training with the side, after winning the USA Rugby Men's Senior Club Sevens Championship and being named the MVP in the tournament.
Five players from last year's Gold Coast Sevens – Tai Enosa, Hawkins, Isles, Test and Brett Thompson – return for the opening round of the new season.
“We’ve always had a bunch of guys leave and go on to bigger and better things,” Hawkins said.
“There are plenty of moving parts and that’s just what the Sevens world is. I think the guys we have here have grown a lot over the past year and some of the new guys joining us have brought a fresh energy, which is really great.”
There will be three new faces in Hawkins' first squad, with Pat Blair, Ryan Matyas and Stephen Tomashin. All three have been in residency with the USA side at the Olympic Training Centre.
“I’ve watched those guys over the past two or three years,” added Hawkins.
“They’re not really new players to me, but they’re certainly new players to our system. They’ve come in and fit really well and they’re thriving in the conditions at the OTC. We’re excited to see what they can do on that next stage.”
The Eagles fell in the Shield Final at last year’s Gold Coast Sevens after finishing a tough group stage with three losses to Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, the eventual Series champions.
This year, Hawkins' side face matches with New Zealand, Kenya and Tonga at Skilled Park.
USA Sevens squad: Pat Blair, Miles Craigwell, Nick Edwards, Tai Enosa, Jack Halalilo, Matt Hawkins, Carlin Isles, Ryan Matyas, Folau Niua, Zack Test, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin