First Eagles caps on the cards for Iosefo, Schirmer in Dubai

"There have been some tough decisions, which is what you want as a coach."

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The Men’s Eagles Sevens will introduce two new caps at Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, the second leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series.

University of Montana’s Martin Iosefo and Central Washington University’s Aladdin Schirmer made cases for themselves throughout 2014, the latest at the Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Training Camp at the Olympic Training Center. Twenty-nine athletes spent a week in the high-level training environment battling for 12 spots on the roster for the Dec. 5-6 tournament.

“It has been a physically tough High Performance Camp for all of the players and I cannot fault the attitude and application shown by the boys,” Friday said. “We have stretched the boys further on their tactical understanding and introduced and worked on the mental aspects of the game, which is an area, as a squad, we need to develop and grow in to be able to compete on the Sevens World Series.”

Both Iosefo and Schirmer played under AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American Sevens Head Coach Tony Pacheco – also CWU’s head coach – at Serevi RugbyTown Sevens in Glendale, Colo. Iosefo scored five tries for the MCAAs, while Schirmer was called up to the USA Falcons development squad, coached by Eagles Assistant Coach Chris Brown. Iosefo also represented the Chicago Lions at the 2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship.

“It is great to see Aladdin and Martin push their way into the squad,” Friday said. “Both are young talents who are powerful, confrontational rugby players and will add further power and pace to the squad and complement the other 10 players who will need to integrate them into the squad as we prepare for the next two legs.”

Gold Coast Sevens Dream Team nomination Zack Test reached the 100-try milestone in the first leg of the Series, where the Eagles won the Bowl with a 4-2 record and earned eight standings points towards Olympic qualification.

The Eagles defeated Canada in the opening match of Gold Coast Sevens in a pool that sent Argentina and England to the Cup Quarterfinals. England will join the Eagles in Pool C, along with Australia and Kenya.

“We are working towards the goal of Olympic qualification and we need to develop and grow the experience and talent pool for the squad to improve the squad depth and create a strong, competitive, hard-working environment.” Friday said. “We expect to be competitors, not participators, in every tournament we take the field in and our immediate aim is to progress to the Cup competition after Day One. We will then take Day Two game by game, focusing on the moment and not worrying about the outcome.”

Following stints with the Men’s Eagles during their November Tour, Danny Barrett and Folau Niua will make the trip to Dubai. Barrett suffered an injury in the Eagles’ sold-out match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field, but will be available to play in two weeks’ time.

Niua started three matches for the Eagles in Chicago, Romania, and England, respectively, before flying back to the Olympic Training Center for the High Performance Camp.

Nic Edwards, Saint Mary’s College’s Kingsley McGowan, and Mike Te’o will be available to the coaching staff as non-traveling reserves.

“There have been some tough decisions, which is what you want as a coach,” Friday said. “I am hopeful that, as the season progresses, all selections will become difficult as competition grows, the standards rise, and the environment evolves.”

The Eagles begin their Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens campaign Friday, Dec. 5, at 2:14 a.m. ET. Follow live match updates from The Sevens Stadium on Twitter with @USARugby and watch the Eagles on Universal Sports.

Men's Eagles Sevens | Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens
Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Garrett Bender
Pat Blair
Andrew Durutalo
Madison Hughes
Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Folau Niua
Aladdin Schirmer
Zack Test
Maka Unufe

Men's Eagles Sevens | Non-traveling reserves
Nic Edwards
Kingsley McGowan
Mike Te'o

Men's Eagles Sevens | Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens
v England - Friday, Dec. 5 - 2:14 a.m. ET
v Australia - Friday, Dec. 5 - 5:36 a.m. ET
v Kenya - Friday, Dec. 5 - 11:09 a.m. ET