Dubai selections up for grabs at Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – As Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens nears, Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday has called upon 29 athletes to fight for roster spots for the second leg of the 2014-15 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series.

Fourteen athletes in Residency at the Olympic Training Center, including Series debutant Perry Baker, will train with the Eagles’ coaching staff, 11 remote athletes, and four members of the World-Class Athlete Program from Sunday, Nov. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 22.

Baker scored six tries at Gold Coast Sevens in October as the Eagles won four of six matches to earn the Bowl and eight standings points. Test, who joined the Eagles Select XV at the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship upon returning from Australia, scored a second-best seven tries in six matches and was selected to the Gold Coast Sevens Dream Team.

Madison Hughes captained the Eagles in Australia and added 24 points to his career total of 122 in just his fifth appearance on the circuit.

Next week’s camp will also be attended by Danny Barrett and Folau Niua, who were each capped in the Men’s Eagles’ historic match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago Nov. 1. Barrett sustained an injury in Chicago but will continue to slowly work back into training, while Niua will start at full back for the Eagles against Tonga Saturday in Gloucester before traveling back to California to compete for a spot on the Eagles Sevens’ Dubai roster.

“Over the last few weeks we have focused on rugby areas of improvement identified from Gold Coast,” Friday said. “We have had a good opportunity to collectively refocus following what was always going to be a difficult logistical period with the ARC commitments [of Andrew Durutalo, Folau Niua, and Zack Test] and the number of players we sent abroad to gain playing time in this period.”

Making his first appearance at a Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp is Martin Iosefo, who scored five tries for the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American Sevens at the 2014 Serevi RugbyTown Sevens in Glendale, Colo., in August. The University of Montana student played with the Chicago Lions this summer in sevens competition and represented the club at the 2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship. Most recently, Iosefo was a standout for Tiger Rugby at the Central Coast 7s, playing alongside Eagles Pila Taufa and Ben Leatigaga.

Fellow MCAA selections for the pre-Dubai camp include Garrett Brewer, Kingsley McGowan, and Aladdin Schirmer. Brewer graduated from Saint Mary’s College following the school’s D1A Rugby Championship in May, while McGowan is still with the Gaels. Schirmer, coached by MCAA Sevens Head Coach Tony Pacheco at Central Washington University, starred for both the MCAAs and USA Falcons developmental squad at RugbyTown Sevens this summer before being named a non-traveling reserve for Gold Coast Sevens.

The Eagles defeated Canada in pool play in Gold Coast before finishing third in their pool with losses to England and Argentina. Three victories in the knockout stages of the tournament against Japan (Bowl Quarterfinal), Portugal (Bowl Semifinal), and France (Bowl Final) showed the world the team was ready to push for more, but Coach Friday understands there is still work to be done.

“We have sought to educate and improve the understanding required to win games and then translate that onto pitch practice so the boys recognize the different pictures presented to them in order for them to make good decisions,” Friday said.

“The boys’ main focus leading into this High Performance Camp has been to push on with achieving the conditioning standards that Coach Chris Brown expects whilst focusing on improving the accuracy and consistency in the skills required to allow us to play the effective, accurate, tactical sevens rugby that we strive to play. We have certainly seen continuous improvement over the last several weeks in this regard.”

Twelve roster spots are up for grabs for Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, scheduled for The Sevens Stadium in the United Arab Emirates Dec. 5-6, as well as the third stop of the Series, Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, which will be held the following weekend in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The Eagles are in Pool C in Dubai with Australia, England, and Kenya.

“The players have clarity of what is expected and needed of them individually and what they personally need to be doing to contribute positively to the squad, if we as a group wish to continue to improve and start to challenge the super rugby nations this season,” Friday said. “Quite simply, the boys need to be accountable for their actions, take ownership, and enjoy the grind of the Yaka Yard.”

Men's Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp

NameClubHP TeamHeightWeight (lbs)
Perry Baker1823Men's Eagles Sevens6'1"180
Danny BarrettSan Francisco Golden GateMen's Eagles Sevens6'3"220
Garrett BenderAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'4"220
Pat BlairSeattle SaracensSerevi6'1"220
Garrett BrewerAt LargeAIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans6'4"215
Maximo DeAchavalDenver BarbariansDenver Sevens5'11"195
Andrew DurutaloSeattle SaracensMen's Eagles Sevens6'2"245
Nic EdwardsAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'2"200
Will HolderArmyMen's Eagles Sevens - WCAP6'2"210
Madison HughesDartmouth CollegeAIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans5'8"170
Martin IosefoMissoula All-Maggots RFCAIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans6'1"215
Carlin IslesAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens5'8"165
Ben LeatigagaArmyMen's Eagles Sevens - WCAP6'0"210
Derek LipscombOld BlueNortheast NDA6'2"225
Andrew LockeArmyMen's Eagles Sevens - WCAP6'0"180
Kingsley McGowanSaint Mary's CollegeAIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans5'11"195
Folau NiuaAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'1"197
Zack PangelinanOMBACTiger5'8"190
Nu'u PunimataArmyMen's Eagles Sevens - WCAP6'0"210
Sean RaffertyMystic RiverNortheast NDA6'1"225
Aladdin SchirmerCentral Washington UniversityAIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans6'2"220
Pila TaufaAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'3"205
Mike Te'oBelmont ShoreMen's Eagles Sevens5'8"205
Zack TestAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'3"195
Stephen TomasinSan Diego StateMen's Eagles Sevens5'10"200
Jack TracyBelmont ShoreTiger6'2"205
Chris TuroriOMBACMen's Eagles Sevens6'4"225
Maka Kisi UnufeAt LargeMen's Eagles Sevens6'2"200
Michael Ziegler1823Men's Eagles Sevens6'4"230

Men's Eagles Sevens | Coaching Staff
Mike Friday - Head Coach
Chris Brown - Coach
Phil Greening - Coach
Brian Finn - Athletic Trainer
Nick Tricarico - High Performance Sevens Manager
Alex Magleby - National Sevens Director

Shadowing Camp
Tui Osborne - Life NDA
Nese Malifa - Coach - at Large