BOULDER, Colo. – After a week-long camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., the USA Men’s Sevens team has been selected for the last two stops of the HSBC Sevens World Series in London on May 21-22 and Edinburgh on May 28-29, and what a team it is.
A departure from the typically young team coach Al Caravelli picks for the final stops of the Series (often smattered with freshly out-of-school collegiate players), the 12-player squad he has named this year is steeped in speed, experience, size and physicality.
The only player in the squad from the college ranks is Cameron Dolan, the dominant eight man for Life University’s College Premier Division side that has been on Caravelli’s radar since Dolan was an Under-17 player.
“Cam is a unique kind of player. He’s a true forward with the speed of a back. I’m excited to see him break onto the international scene,” Caravelli said of the 21 year-old Dolan.
Mike Palefau and Nese Malifa are back in top form according to their coach, and their considerable experience and expertise will be an asset to the team, if in limited capacity as they transition back to international rugby.
The last time Malifa was with the squad was last year in Adelaide, when the USA played in its first-ever Cup final in Adelaide after beating England, Wales and Argentina. Palefau’s last time with the team was in 2009.
The team will be led by captain Matt Hawkins once again and he’ll be accompanied by the usual company in this year’s Series: Paul Emerick, Shalom Suniula, Zack Test, Miles Craigwell, Tai Enosa (returning after missing out in Hong Kong and Adelaide), Colin Hawley, and Roland Suniula.
All but four of the players named to the traveling squad were at the USA fifteens pre-Rugby World Cup domestic camp from May 4-8 at the Olympic Training Center, the exceptions being Hawkins, Craigwell, Dolan and Boyd.
Test and Emerick have 20 and 15 tries in the Series so far, respectively, putting them among the elite try-scorers in the Series.
The Eagles have tough opponents in both London and Edinburgh, including host nations England and Scotland at home.
In England the USA will play pool opponents England, Argentina, and France and are set to go up against Samoa, Fiji, and hosts Scotland in Edinburgh.
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Squad
Matthew Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), Paul Emerick (Life), Shalom Suniula (Brisbane/USA Men’s Sevens), Miles Craigwell (NYAC), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Cameron Dolan (Life), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Roland Suniula (Boston) Zack Test (unattached)