CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday has made his final roster selections for the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series.
Twenty athletes convened at the Olympic Training Center with hopes of claiming one of the 12 available roster spots for Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens and Marriott London Sevens. The Eagles will see only one roster change from the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and Tokyo Sevens with the addition of Martin Iosefo.
Iosefo made his debut for the U.S. in Dubai after impressing with the AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans at 2014 Serevi RugbyTown Sevens. Scoring two tries in four series legs, the University of Montana forward played his way into starting roles until academic commitments made him unavailable for the two most recent tournaments.
“Having Martin back brings real balance to our squad as he is a powerful, attacking option whether he is deployed in the back line or in the forwards,” Friday said. “We know he hits hard defensively and has footwork and the eye for a gap in attack, whether that is using his feet or power.”
The Eagles moved up to sixth in the Series standings with a Plate Final appearance in Hong Kong and a Bowl Final victory in Tokyo. Both Finals were played against Australia, which dropped out of the top four after England’s Cup win in Tokyo.
The U.S. is the highest-ranked squad in Glasgow’s Pool D and will open the tournament at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday, May 9, against Canada. Matches against Japan and Argentina will follow on day one as the Eagles look to make their fifth Cup Quarterfinals of the season.
“That first match will no doubt be a spicy game as always being a derby, but it is no different to any [first match] on day one,” Friday said. “We need to get off to a good start or it just makes progressing to the Cup competition a much harder task.”
Following the culmination of the 2014-15 Sevens World Series, the top four nations in the standings will earn automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. With 71 points, the U.S. sits 29 points behind England for fourth place. Should the Eagles not reach fourth this season, they will seek Olympic qualification at the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships in Cary, N.C., the weekend of June 13.
Men’s Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens / Marriott London Sevens
1. Carlin Isles
2. Mataiyasi Leuta
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
Men’s Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens
v Canada – Saturday, May 9 – 5:30 a.m. ET
v Japan – Saturday, May 9 – 8:58 a.m. ET
v Argentina – Saturday, May 9 – 11:48 a.m. ET