Men’s Eagles Sevens: Hamilton 7s Preview

Eagles prepare to continue Series climb in Hamilton with a man down

THIS SERIES LAST TIME

The Men's Eagles Sevens found a rhythm to their attack in Sydney. After a single loss to the would-be champion Australia in pool play, the squad cruised to victories over Scotland (26-12) and Canada (40-19) to earn a berth in the Cup Quarter Finals.

A 24-7 win against Fiji pushed the Americans to the Semi Finals where they suffered a loss at the hands of South Africa (7-35) and finished in 4th place after conceding the Bronze Final to Argentina (10-31).

Though the tournament did not end the way they'd hoped, the United States made quite a name for themselves in Sydney. Their ability to bring physicality in attack and dominate restarts allowed them to advance higher than they have all season. As a direct result of their competitive play, the Eagles have cracked the top five for Most Points Scored (5th - 324 pts) and Most Tries (5th - 52 tries) this season.

From ending their run in Dubai with a 15th place standing in the Series, the Eagles have now risen to 7th place with determination to continue their progress as a team and advance even higher in Hamilton.

WHO TO WATCH

World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Perry Baker headlined the tournament by scoring 9 total tries - including a hat trick against Canada - and falling only one score shy of tying Zack Test as USA's All-Time Leading Try Scorer. Fans in Waikato will be thrilled to see Baker's attempt to both seal and break the record in Hamilton.

Along with Baker, Martin Iosefo and Folau Niua also made a significant impact in the squad's attack at Sydney Sevens. Both Isoefo and Niua's ability to read the defense and spread the ball across the forward pack increased scoring opportunities for the United States.

New Captain Ben Pinkelman has stepped up to the plate, as well. Leading his team in place of Madison Hughes who returns home with a knee injury, PInkelman earned 20 points for his squad and an appointment to the Dream Team after his performance in Sydney.

With Steven Tomasin also away with a knee injury, Nicklas Boyer will travel to Hamilton to complete the now 12-man force. Boyer, having just returned from Sudamérica Sevens with the USA Falcons, joins the Eagles having scored 3 tries himself during the South American tour.

HEAR IT FROM THE HEAD COACH

On Competition in pool play ...
"We have been drawn in another hugely physical pool this weekend and will need to recover - first and foremost - to be smart with our training, as well as to focus on the areas where we need to be better as a group."

On team mentality going into Hamilton ...
"We were disappointed with where we finished last weekend. We are excited for the opportunity to get back out there as a group and try and be better."

On New Captain Ben Pinkelman ...
"Pinky as we all knew and expected has stepped up to the role in Madison's absence, just as he did at Silicon Valley in pre-season. He is the type of leader who does so by example. We all know he is a smart rugby player but his desire and work ethic to be the best he can be and deliver for his team mates is first class. He sets his standards very high and just wants all others to try to do the same. He was worthy of his Sydney Dream Team recognition and he will once again lead knowing he has Folau to lean on tactically to assist, as well as Danny."

THE COMPETITION

Head Coach Mike Friday and the Men's Eagles Sevens are drawn in Pool D with rival Canada (10th), Samoa (11th) and Kenya (9th). Canada finished 13th in Sydney with Nathan Hirayama (93 pts) standing at 4th in Most Points Scored in the Series. Somoa, who fell to Wales in the Challenge Semi Final, will be second; followed by Kenya who lost to Fiji in the 5th Place Semi Final to close out their Sydney run.

Men's Eagles Sevens Roster | Hamilton 7s Tournament

Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Nick Boyer
Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Matai Leuta
Chris Mattina
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman (C)
Joe Schroeder
Maka Unufe
Kevon Williams

Men's Eagles Sevens Staff | Hamilton 7s Tournament

Head Coach - Mike Friday
Assistant Coach - Chris Brown
Assistant Coach - Phil Greening
Physiotherapist - Brian Green

Men's Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool D | Hamilton 7s Tournament

LIVE on ESPN3
vs. Canada | Fri, Feb. 2 - 5:22 PM ET
vs. Samoa | Fri, Feb. 2 - 8:48 PM ET
vs. Kenya | Sat, Feb. 3 - 12:22 AM ET

WHERE WE STAND

HSBC World Series Standing: 7th
HSBC World Series Points: 28
Most Points Scored: USA, 5th
Most Tries Scored: USA, 5th

TO SUM IT UP

The Men's Eagles Sevens have found their dynamic attack and are prepared to continue their growth as a team in Hamilton. After climbing from 15th in Dubai to 7th following Sydney, the squad will use every resource to their advantage to remain competitive against Canada, Samoa and Kenya, despite being a man down. Perry Baker will hunt for two tries to become USA's All-Time Leading Try Scorer while Captain Ben Pinkelman will take his squad and Sydney Dream Team appointment to new heights. It all begins Fri, Feb. 2 at 5:22 PM ET, LIVE on ESPN3.