Men's Eagles Sevens: 2018 USA 7s Preview

Men’s Sevens have everything to play for with home field advantage

After a month break, the Men's Eagles Sevens will return to their home stop of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Las Vegas, Mar. 2-4. Competing in the Bronze final in the past three consecutive USA Sevens Tournaments, the United States will channel the energy of a home crowd once again to be victorious at Sam Boyd Stadium. Tickets are available now by visiting usasevens.com with matches also broadcast LIVE on ESPN3.

THIS SERIES LAST TIME

After going 1-1-1 in pool play, the Men's Eagles Sevens were forced to make everything count en route to securing the 2018 Hamilton Sevens Challenge Trophy last stop.

It all came down to the final pool play match against Kenya whom the Eagles faced after beating Canada 28-14 and after falling to Samoa on a late try, 10-14. Because the Eagles and the Kenyans drew (19-19) the United States was pushed to the Challenge Trophy track, making their loss to Samoa in the final moments that much more disappointing.

But, after taking the time to reflect as a team, USA was unstoppable upon return. Three consecutive wins including a 29-12 success over Spain, a thrilling 42-12 victory over Papua New Guinea and a 31-12 defeat of Argentina (who took Bronze from the Eagles in Sydney), allowed the Eagles to clinch the 8 points up for grabs.

WHO TO WATCH

In his first match of Hamilton Sevens, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Perry Baker scored his 144th try to pass Zack Test and become USA's all-time leading try scorer. The milestone, an incredible achievement, was secured by Baker in only three years with the squad.

With Stephen Tomasin and Madison Hughes still recovering from injury, Ben Pinkelman continues his role as Captain while newcomer Cody Melphy puts on an Eagles' jersey for the first time. Melphy, who captained the AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans to a bowl victory last August, has the unique opportunity to play his first senior tournament in front of a home crowd.

Malon Al, after earning his first cap in XVs with the Men's Eagles, will return to the sevens scene hunting for his first try of the 2017-18 Series. Jiboori, who missed the past two Series stops to play in the Americas Rugby Championship, recently scored his first try (XV) off the bench against Chile.

HEAR IT FROM THE HEAD COACH, MIKE FRIDAY

On playing on home soil ...
"It is always an honor to represent your country, but to do so on home soil, in front of the very people we represent, makes it special. The louder the support, the more we are fueled; so, we hope our fans bring their "A" game to inspire the boys to do the same."

On missing Hughes and Tomasin ...
"It's disappointing that Hughes and Tomasin are injured but that provides others with opportunities who have been waiting patiently in the wings - working hard - to ensure they can add to the squad. We look forward to seeing the team's continuous growth and evolution with newer players that will wear the Eagle."

On pool play matchups ...
"We are in a hugely difficult group with the form team in Australia, as well as a hugely physical Samoan team who likes to play in Las Vegas. This makes Friday a hugely important day for us to start fast and finish strong to set us up for our third game against a continuously improving Spain."

HEAR IT FROM THE DEBUTANT, CODY MELPHY

On being selected ...
"When I realized I had been selected to play for the team, on home soil, in a tournament that I have watched since the day I started playing rugby 6 years ago, I was filled with a mix of pure happiness and pride. It's given me strength to achieve more; and, I'm honored to have the opportunity to compete and bring home a championship for the USA."

On those who helped him get here ...
"I am thankful for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and USA Rugby for giving me the support and power to strive and reach this new chapter in my life."

THE COMPETITION

After clinching Bronze in the last USA Sevens Tournament, the Eagles are once again faced with a challenge in Pool C. Kicking off against 9th place Samoa on Fri, Mar. 2, the United States will be anxious to rectify their heartbreaking loss in Hamilton. Match two will lead the U.S. to face Sydney Sevens Champion and Hamilton Sevens Bronze Finalist Australia, currently ranked 4th in the Series, with a final matchup against 14th place Spain to close out pool play.

Men's Eagles Sevens Roster | USA Sevens

Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Malon Al-Jiboori
Matai Leuta
Chris Mattina
Cody Melphy
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman (C)
Joe Schroeder
Maka Unufe
Kevon Williams

Men's Eagles Sevens Staff | USA Sevens

Head Coach - Mike Friday
Assistant Coach - Chris Brown
Physiotherapist - Brian Green
Team Manager - Scott Novack

Men's Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool C | USA Sevens Tournament

LIVE on ESPN3
vs. Samoa | Fri, Mar. 2 - 7:28 PM ET
vs. Australia | Fri, Mar. 2 - 10:51 PM ET
vs. Spain | Sat, Mar. 3 - 4:04 PM ET

WHERE WE STAND

HSBC World Series Standing: 7th
HSBC World Series Points Perry Baker, 5th
Most Points Scored USA, 5th

TO SUM IT UP

Despite a few bumps along the road, the Men's Eagles Sevens have risen to 7th place in the current HSBC Series Standings. Toe-and-toe with Kenya and Samoa who are each only 1-point behind USA (36pts), Head Coach Mike Friday and his team will focus on bringing another unforgettable performance to a home crowd in Las Vegas. With three consecutive USA Sevens Bronze medal matches under their belts, this stop will not be one to miss. Tickets for the 2018 USA Sevens Tournament are on sale now through usasevens.com. Matches will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN3, with updates available by following @USARugby on Twitter.