USA Men’s Sevens look to close out 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Europe

Head Coach Mike Friday announced the traveling roster for HSBC Toulouse and London Sevens as the USA head to Europe for the final two stops of the 2023 Series. 

Coming off a disappointing performance in Singapore, the squad will look to improve their results and finish as high as possible in the final World Rugby Sevens Series rankings. The Dawgs have familiar opponents in Fiji, France, and South Africa for Pool C, all of whom bring a different style of play to the pitch and important challenge ahead of RAN Olympic qualifiers that will follow these final tournaments. 

Some fresh faces will join the squad on the pitch next weekend, with Ryan Santos set to make his debut, and Jack Wendling joins the traveling roster for the first time this year, battling back from injury since his last international appearance 18 months ago. Santos meanwhile has impressed over the last year, playing with the USA Falcons at RugbyTown and Coral Coast 7s. 

“Through the pathways program, we’ve been able to set players up to succeed in camp and break into the team. Ryan and Jack have put in a ton of hard work and been able to take progressive steps towards the World Series over the last couple of years. They have earned the opportunity to express themselves and have a positive impact on the main stage,” said Ben Pinkelman, former USA Eagle who now leads player development for the sevens program.

USA veteran Perry Baker is sitting out the remainder of the series to undergo surgery for an injury sustained earlier this year. He is expected to return for the 2023 RAN Qualifiers.  

Comments from Head Coach Mike Friday ahead of Toulouse Sevens: 

“We have made some strategic player decisions for these next two legs with the Olympic qualifiers in August, paired with providing opportunities for some guys who have been working hard these last 12 months to experience the Series. We have a very tough assignment ahead of us in Toulouse but in some respects the pressure is off in terms of chasing that final automatic Olympic qualification spot, giving us the freedom to play without any real consequence. As a group we possess the ability and potential to beat any team on the circuit and the challenge for us as a group is moving from a capable team with potential to a team that can consistently perform to its potential. Toulouse gives us another opportunity to gain experience at the highest level and strive for that consistency.”

Tournament Preview: 

The USA begin their Toulouse Sevens tour with Fiji, who they last met in Vancouver for a 19-24 win. Fiji is known for their big players and physicality, so the USA will have to match their strength to get another win. Next, the USA plays tournament host France. Their last matchup in Singapore is still fresh in the minds of both teams, where a drawn game kept the USA out of an important quarterfinals. The USA’s final day one fixture is a meetup with South Africa, another team with big physicality and playing on the fringe of qualification. As the final pool match, the Blitz Boks will undoubtedly be pushing for a quarterfinal, providing the USA with a pendulum match. Their last matchup was a big win for South Africa, and the USA will be looking to strike back to secure their own spot in the quarterfinals and turn around results from recent tournaments. 

HSBC Toulouse Sevens kicks off Friday, May 12, LIVE on Peacock. 

USA Men’s Sevens Roster | HSBC Toulouse Sevens

Name Position HSBC Tournaments
1. Aaron Cummings Forward 12
3. David Still Forward/Wing 16
5. Joe Schroeder Forward 30
6. Kevon Williams (C) Halfback/Wing 45
7. Naima Fuala’au Halfback 23
8. Malacchi Esdale Wing/Center 16
9. Stephen Tomasin Utility 52
10. Faitala Talapusi Halfback 17
12. Lucas Lacamp Center 11
14. Marcus Tupuola Halfback/Center 23
18. Maka Unufe Center 46
25. Pita Vi Halfback 2
26. Jack Wendling Forward 2
27. Ryan Santos* Flyhalf Yet to debut

*Indicates uncapped player

USA Men’s Sevens Traveling Staff

Head Coach | Mike Friday

Performance Analyst | Dave Gardner

Strength & Conditioning | Josh Schnell

Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan

Team Manager | Scott Novack

USA Men’s Sevens Toulouse Schedule

Friday, May 12

v. Fiji | 8:57 a.m. ET

v. France | 2:35 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 13

v. South Africa | 7:49 a.m. ET

Knockouts begin 10:10 a.m. ET 

Sunday, May 14

Knockouts continue