USA MEN’S SQUAD ANNOUNCED FOR RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018

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https://www.usarugby.org/2017/11/usa-rugby-appoints-emilie-bydwell-as-general-manager-of-womens-high-performance/

MEN’S SQUAD ANNOUNCED FOR RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018
12 athletes will harness the energy of a home crowd to leave a legacy on the World Stage

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – Last time they were on home soil, the Men’s Eagles Sevens achieved greatness alongside crowds of screaming American fans when they won Gold in the Cup Final at 2018 USA Sevens. Now, with a fifth place seeding, Head Coach Mike Friday, his 12 starters and two injury reserves will travel to AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA for the first ever U.S. hosted Rugby World Cup at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

Everything has built to this moment where — over the course of three days (July 20-22) — the entire nation will rally behind a group of men who intend to leave a legacy on the World Stage. Facing the winner of Wales vs Zimbabwe, the Eagles kick things off in the Round of 16 on Friday, July 20 at 9:37 PM PT, LIVE on NBCSN. A limited number of tickets are available at rwcsevens.com/tickets.

“It is a fantastic motivation and opportunity for the boys to be able to play a World Cup on home soil,” says Head Coach Mike Friday. “If Vegas is anything to compare, having a passionate rugby crowd cheering the Dawgs on will only add to the motivation and pride they already have when they wear the shirt and represent their country.”

Eight of the starting 12 are 2016 Rio Olympians with three having suited up for Rugby World Cup 2015 (15s), bringing substantial pinnacle event experience to compliment familiar faces who have equally become standout athletes.

Headlined by Captain Madison Hughes, the Men’s Sevens will bring two of the fastest men in rugby to San Francisco, as Perry Baker and Carlin Isles both return. Baker, 2017 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year; and Isles, overall top try scorer of the 2017-18 season, will each surely light up the pitch with their electric speed.

With experience and speed also comes an anticipated homecoming for Danny Barrett who grew up in the Bay Area, played for Cal Rugby as well as San Francisco Golden Gate, and brings his bulldozing power to showcase in front of family and friends.

Playmaker Folau Niua and the growing threat of Kevon Williams will be back in the bunch as well; alongside a healthy Matai Leuta and Maka Unufe who have fully recovered from injuries during the season.

Chris Mattina and Pat Blair travel as the 13th and 14th men (respectively), ready to suit up as injury reserves.

“I am really pleased with the starting 12. All the boys went all out to push one another in this build up and the camaraderie and competitive edge was first class,” said Head Coach Mike Friday. “It has bought the best out of those chosen and we have a good balance of pace, power and physicality to add to the positional flexibility in the squad. If we are fizzing, confident and on point come match day, we will be contenders in this unforgiving format.”

It goes without saying that the anticipation, energy and responsibility that come with playing in front of a home crowd will all culminate in a unique fashion when the tournament begins. As a group that has shown an undoubted capability to be unstoppable, the Men’s Eagles Sevens will be determined to keep their mindset and focus on delivering the best versions of themselves to fans at AT&T Park.

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 will begin Friday, July 20 with a men’s champion crowned on Sunday, July 22. The Eagles will face the winner of Wales vs. Zimbabwe in their first match on Day One at 9:37 PM PT, LIVE on NBCSN. A limited number of tickets are still available with all games broadcast across various NBC Networks.

MEN’S EAGLES SEVENS ROSTER | RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018
1. Carlin Isles
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Danny Barrett
4. Matai Leuta
5. Brett Thompson
6. Kevon Williams
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

*Traveling injury reserves: Chris Mattina and Patrick Blair

MEN’S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF | RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS 2018
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Chris Brown
Assistant Coach | Phil Greening
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Jon Hood
Performance Analyst | Paul Goulding
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Coach | JD Stephenson
Team Manager | Scott Novack

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Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.

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