The USA Men’s Sevens squad traveled to Vancouver following a disappointing home tournament to prepare for the next stop on the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series. Performance at Vancouver Sevens will be a defining moment for the USA as they try to jump back in to the mix for early Olympic qualification.
The seventh stop on the series in Vancouver brings the USA to the second half of the season. With only five tournaments left, placements are becoming more critical, where the Dawgs will look to return to form and momentum from the first few tournament stops of the series. Another difficult pool awaits the team, where they will face New Zealand, Samoa, and Spain, poetically the three teams the USA fell to in their home tournament last weekend. With the challenging opponents and inspiration to return the favor of defeat, the USA has a chance to turn around the results.
Cody Melphy will join the squad in Vancouver as Joe Schroeder returns home to recover from an injury sustained in Los Angeles. Melphy played in the Los Angeles Invitational with the Falcons last weekend, who captured a bronze medal in the elite tournament.
Comments from Head Coach Mike Friday ahead of Vancouver Sevens:
“We are obviously very disappointed with our performance in LA and accept that we underperformed and are better than that. We apologize to the USA Rugby community and fans. We looked at the man in the mirror and acknowledged there is no excuse not to assert our physicality in every game and that our chop tackling was just not good enough collectively over the weekend. We did not think clearly or execute well enough in the important defining moments and paid a heavy price for that in pool play. The Spain performance was just not good enough on all levels and we can’t allow that to happen again.
We accept we are in a hole now, but this Vancouver pool is a potential pool of redemption as we try and fight our way back into the automatic Olympic qualification conversation. We realize we have allowed ourselves to become 10 points adrift, but that is still a more than manageable target to catch, but we are under no illusions of the task that lies ahead this weekend and beyond to achieve that goal.
Reviewing and reflecting as we enter this week's preparation, we know we are very much capable of competing with all the teams in the group and the challenge of New Zealand and Samoa on day one whilst a stern one are tests we are excited to hit head on. If we can control our possession, we have proved that we can cause both these teams real problems and if we play to our potential, remain calm and accurate in the moment whilst respecting and executing the basics of the game then we have real genuine pace and power that will shine.
Friday we will see a group of hungry Dawgs rising to the challenge against two of the in-form teams in the World Series.”
USA Men’s Sevens Roster | HSBC Vancouver Sevens
|1. Aaron Cummings||Forward||9|
|3. David Still||Forward/Wing||14|
|6. Kevon Williams (C)||Halfback/Wing||42|
|7. Naima Fuala’au||Halfback||20|
|8. Malacchi Esdale||Center/Wing||13|
|9. Stephen Tomasin||Utility||49|
|10. Faitala Talapusi||Halfback||14|
|11. Perry Baker||Wing/Center||62|
|13. Cody Melphy||Halfback||7|
|14. Marcus Tupuola||Halfback/Center||20|
|15. Gavan D'Amore||Forward||15|
|16. Adam Channel||Forward||7|
|18. Maka Unufe||Centre||45|
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Staff
Head Coach | Mike Friday
Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner
Strength & Conditioning | Josh Schnell
Athletic Trainer | Bobby Gragston
Team Manager | Scott Novack
USA Men’s Sevens Vancouver Schedule
Friday, March 3 v. New Zealand | 4:23 pm ET
v. Samoa | 10:37 pm ET
Saturday, March 4
v. Spain | 4:51 pm ET
Knockouts begin 8:54 pm ET
Sunday, March 5
Knockouts continue 12 pm ET
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