The USA Men’s Sevens are kicking off the new year in the South Pacific as they head to the next two stops of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series and the traveling roster is confirmed for the tour.
Returning for the first time since 2020, Hamilton and Sydney are two critical stops for the USA, who rank fourth after standout performances in Dubai and Cape Town, where they finished fourth and third, respectively. The Eagles will look to improve on their performance to remain in the top four rank en route to Olympic qualification for Paris 2024. Hamilton Sevens kicks off at 4:16 p.m. ET on Friday, January 20 in a clash against Japan. All matches will be live on Peacock.
Hamilton Sevens Preview
The Eagles have had a strong start to their season and head into 2023 fresh off a bronze medal finish in Cape Town. The squad’s cohesiveness came together at crucial moments throughout the tournament, especially despite losing young star Lucas Lacamp to injury in the quarterfinal game, and they’ll look to repeat and improve on their plays from December.
Head coach Mike Friday’s traveling squad, led by Captain Kevon Williams, is similar to the last two stops apart from Lacamp’s absence and Adam Channel joining the traveling roster. Veteran player and 2020 Olympian Maceo Brown joins the squad in Hamilton to go for his first Series appearance this season, also returning from injury. Meanwhile, young faces like Aaron Cummings, who has had a breakout season so far as a playmaker in critical game-winning moments throughout Cape Town, return to the traveling squad of 14 to compete for one of 13 playing roster spots in Hamilton.
The USA plays Japan in their first Pool C match in Hamilton. They last matched up against Japan in Dubai, where they dominated with a 43-7 win. Next, the Eagles face Ireland, who won the last match up 12-7 in Dubai, so the USA will look to reverse the results. Their final pool play match is against Series newcomer Uruguay, who currently rank 11th, but defeated the USA 21-19 at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September. The Eagles have some tough opponents ahead of them, but the squad is prepared and focused with the goal of keeping confidence high, riding momentum and remaining in the top four.
Two-time World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year award winner, Perry Baker will earn his 60th sevens series appearance when he takes the pitch in New Zealand. Becoming only the fourth USA Eagle to ever surpass that mark, behind Zack Test, Carlin Isles and Folau Niua.
Heading into the first game of the new year, Captain Kevon Williams noted:
“The fellas have persevered and put in a lot of work on this block. All we need to do is come out and be confident in each other and our game plan. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Head Coach Mike Friday’s comments heading into Hamilton:
“We are looking forward to getting back out there and representing. We were disappointed that we didn’t progress further in Dubai and Cape Town and it was the small moments, some of which were not in our control, which were the difference.
We are motivated to continue moving forward as a group and impose our attacking DNA and defensive intensity. We have and are working hard to get better and more consistent as a group and whilst there has been a break for the holidays we are physically progressing these last two weeks to be ready and prepared for that first game in Hamilton.”
USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Roster | Hamilton and Sydney Sevens
|Jersey Number & Name||Position||HSBC Tournaments|
|1. Aaron Cummings||Forward||6|
|2. Ben Broselle||Forward/Wing||14|
|3. David Still||Forward/Wing||11|
|4. Maceo Brown||Center/Forward||20|
|5. Joe Schroeder||Forward||25|
|6. Kevon Williams (C)||Halfback/Wing||39|
|7. Naima Fuala’au||Halfback||17|
|8. Malacchi Esdale||Center/Wing||10|
|9. Stephen Tomasin||Utility||46|
|10. Faitala Talapusi||Halfback||11|
|11. Perry Baker||Wing/Center||59|
|14. Marcus Tupuola||Halfback/Center||17|
|15. Gavan D'Amore||Forward||12|
|16. Adam Channel||Forward||6|
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 Hamilton Schedule
Friday, Jan. 20
v. Japan | 4:16 p.m. ET
v. Ireland | 7:44 p.m. ET
v. Uruguay | 10:28 p.m. ET
Live on Peacock
Knockout stages begin 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 21.