With the National Club 7s Championships done and the All-Star Championships upcoming, USA 7s Head Coach Al Caravelli is feeling somewhat optimistic going into the international 7s season.
Caravelli will be scouting the NASC, which will be held at Chula Vista August 26 (a Friday) and 27. Then he will choose a squad of Possibles and a squad of Probables, and run them through games on Sunday as a tryout.
Overall the coach said he was pleased with the standard of play at the National Championships. He said the players looked much fitter than they did earlier in the summer, and the skill level, overall, was improved over last year.
That being said, some teams were more equal than others. Belmont Shore, Utah, Schuylkill River and others showed some very strong 7s play; others did not.
And several players had their names written down.
“We have competition for places, absolutely,” Caravelli told RUGBYMag.com. “Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the level of play and what we’ve got going into the All Star Championships. Overall we will have a more competitive environment.”
Caravelli has had some input in the All-Star teams. He’s asked coaches to consider players who could play for the national team, which means reducing those not eligible or too old to really be considered. It’s up to the coaches, said Caravelli, but they know what his needs are.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the next tournament for the USA is the Pan-Am Games, and they use a different eligibility measurement than the IRB. Chiefly, you can’t qualify for a national team just on residency. You need to hold a US passport. As a result, for example, Marco Barnard will not be eligible for the Pan-Ams.
Who will be considered? The following is purely our own speculation and received no input from Caravelli. So we may well be flat wrong.
But these are the players we think have a really good shot at national team consideration, and we expect several more to emerge later this month.
Cam Dolan (possibly at World Cup)
Matt Hawkins (injured?)
Colin Hawley (possibly at World Cup)
Nick Johnson (not the USA play Nic, but from YoungBloodz)
Blaine Scully (likely going to World Cup)
Zack Test (possibly at World Cup)
Tai Enosa (possibly at World Cup)
Paul Emerick (likely at World Cup)
Nese Malifa (likely at World Cup)
Don Pati (injured?)