Three of the United States’ four tries Friday came from World Series rookies. In the opening game of the Eagles most high pressure tournament – the one all their fans are able to watch – Danny Barrett got his first cap, his first start and his first try against Argentina. Pono Haitsuka scored two tries in the second game against France.
“If I’m going to invite you to come train at the training center, I should believe that you could start out there, and if I don’t believe that, then they shouldn’t be there. Some guys are two weeks off, some guys are six months off, but when they get the opportunity, they’re going to take that,” said USA head coach Matt Hawkins.
“Pono’s done that. He played well on the last trip, and he’s now playing well now. And the more time he spends in the environment we’re in, the better he’s going to get. Same can be said for Danny, so it’s exciting to see them on this stage and doing what they’re doing.”
And for Haitsuka and Barrett, it’s exciting to have done what they’ve done in front of their friends and family.
“To be here is really big. The support from the crowd and everything is great. Coming out that tunnel, man, you hear people yelling,” said Haitsuka.
“I just thank Coach Hawkins for giving me the opportunity to show my stuff out here, and I’m just appreciative and thankful for giving me that shot.”