Stephen Tomasin and Maka Unufe confirmed to start, Malon Al-Jiboori serves as 13th man
HONG KONG – With two days until the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens tournament begins, Men’s Sevens’ Head Coach Mike Friday announces his confirmed starters for the seventh stop of the 2017-18 HSBC World Series. From an extended traveling roster to compensate for injuries, Friday has confirmed 13 players who are healthy and ready to face France, Wales and Argentina in Pool D this Friday (Apr. 6), LIVE on ESPN3.
Of the 15 players in the extended traveling roster, Pat Blair and Cody Melphy will sit out to give way for Malon Al-Jiboori as the 13th man, available for any injuries; along with Stephen Tomasin and Maka Unufe who officially return after missing tournaments.
Having suffered a bruised thigh during the Eagles’ championship USA Sevens run, Unufe is thrilled to be back with his squad.
“The rush of playing in Vegas and the boys winning the final after I got injured was such a high, knowing we made history,” said Unufe, reflecting on USA’s historic win amidst his own injury. “It’s definitely hard to watch my teammates out on the field and not be there with them, but I also know it’s crucial to make sure my body is 100% before I try and step on the field. I’m just happy to be back with the boys and back on the field again. Excited to give it my all and see what we can accomplish as a team this weekend.”
The Men’s Sevens will face France, Wales and Argentina on Day One of competition, hoping to secure a full sweep to begin the race for the Cup. After arriving in Hong Kong last week, the Eagles spent the past several days preparing for the elite competition that begins Friday (Apr 6).
Men’s Eagles Sevens Traveling Roster | Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
1. Carlin Isles
2. Ben Pinkelman (C)
3. Danny Barrett
4. Matai Leuta
5. Brett Thompson
6. Chris Mattina
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Kevon Williams
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Malon Al-Jiboori
Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff | Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
Head Coach – Mike Friday
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Jon Hood
Physiotherapist – Brian Green
Team Manager – Scott Novack
Men’s Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool D | Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
LIVE on ESPN3
vs. France | Fri, Apr. 6 – 6:24 AM ET
vs. Wales | Fri, Apr. 6 – 11:38 PM ET
vs. Argentina | Sat, Apr. 7 – 3:38 AM ET
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN3 with updates available by following @USARugby on Twitter.