CHULA VISTA, Calif. – While a majority of the athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. are preparing for the Olympics in London this summer, the USA Men’s Eagle Sevens team is focused on the final two stops of the 2011-2012 HSBC Sevens World Series in Glasgow, Scotland (May 5-6) and London, England (May 12-13).
The Eagle Sevens are presently in camp at the OTC preparing for the final two stops and will depart for the UK on Monday April 30.
After climbing to #10 in the world at the Tokyo Sevens, the team will look to continue to build momentum into the home stretch of the Series.
At the camp, USA Head Coach Alexander Magleby looks to continue the progress made in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
“We remain a step late in certain aspects on the field. But to the players’ credit they continue to inch forward each session, and they have been doing that work since Tokyo. All set personal records in fitness and strength tests this week, a credit to those efforts and to the work of coach Dave Williams,” the coach said.
Magleby is committed to getting the on-field culture right with this team, instilling in the players a high work-rate and a positive and opportunistic mindset.
“We are trying to learn how to grind and to make quality decisions while in the midst of that labor. It’s a mindset and a set of behaviors we are aiming to chase down. Hopefully in the process we have a bit a fun creating and playing our brand of rugby,” Magleby added.
Stability in the form of full-time contracted athletes may help contribute to the culture. The recent signings of Andrew Durutalo and Nu’u Punimata brings the total number of signed players to 11, but only nine are available for Scotland and England as Blaine Scully and Garrett Bender are unavailable due to injury.
Mike Palefau is a utility player brought in for the camp and has been excellent in 2011-2012 for the Eagles. Also joining the extended squad are Nick Edwards, Justin Boyd, Duncan Kelm, and Marcus Satavu, who, as additional players, have the ability to contribute on and off the field to the team.
Edwards returns to action after missing out on Hong Kong and Tokyo due to a hamstring injury. His vocal presence, versatility, and experience are a welcome addition to camp.
Boyd will challenge for a spot on the traveling team relying on his speed and tour experience, having last played for the USA in May 2011.
Kelm, a handy restart aerialist and sevens forward, is returning to the player pool after recovering from an ankle injury, and has played for Magleby on four All-American tours in the past.
Marcus Satavu, a Senior Airman based out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla, is an emerging player out of the Armed Forces, contributing to the Eagles camp with his high work rate and athleticism.
Magleby noted that progress with the team has been steady and the team leadership continues to mature.
“Shalom [Suniula], Zack [Test], and Colin [Hawley] have continued to grow as leaders and the group as a whole has really taken ownership of their experience,” Magleby said of the team.
Inspirational leadership and a good physical base for the team will be necessary as they face very tough opposition in their Scotland pool.
The Eagles will face England and Australia - ranked fourth and sixth respectively - in the Series, as well as Kenya who are clipping at the heels of the USA in the world rankings, a mere point behind the Eagles.
USA Men’s Eagle Sevens Pre-Scotland and London Camp Roster
Player (Club; Hometown)
Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins; Dallas, Texas)
Andrew Durutalo (USA Rugby; Seattle, Wa.)
Nick Edwards (Sydney University; Sydney, Australia)
Tai Enosa (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (USA Rugby; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Duncan Kelm (Unattached; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Rocco Mauer (USA Rugby; Cleveland, Ohio)
Mike Palefau (Old Puget Sound Beach; Salt Lake City, Utah)
Folau Niua (USA Rugby; East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Nu’u Punimata (USA Rugby; Seattle, Wa.)
Marcus Satavu (Air Force Rugby/Panama City Beach Hurricanes; Panama City, Fl.)
Shalom Suniula (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.)
Zack Test (USA Rugby; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (USA Rugby; Naperville, Ill.)
Unavailable for selection:
Garrett Bender (USA Rugby; Minneapolis, Minn.)
Blaine Scully (USA Rugby; Sacramento, Calif.)