Men’s Eagles Sevens: Canada Sevens Preview

With their historic Cup Final win, USA has a chance to finish higher than ever before

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Following their first ever Cup Final victory on home soil - only their second ever in the 20-year history of the World Sevens Series - the Men's Eagles Sevens will return for Canada Sevens, the 6th stop in the 2017-18 HSBC World Sevens Series where they'll attempt to continue their climb to a highest-ever Series finish. Hosted in Vancouver at BC Place Stadium, with USA in Pool A, matches will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN3 with updates available by following @USARugby on Twitter.

THIS SERIES LAST STOP

The Men's Eagles Sevens are USA Sevens Champions. With the unmatched support of a home crowd in the stands, Head Coach Mike Friday and his team went completely undefeated, showing offensive strength and defensive stability to clinch a highly-coveted title victory in Las Vegas.

Coming right out of the gate with a fresh and focused mindset, the squad defeated Samoa, Australia and Spain to make a statement as they locked their position in the Cup Quarter Finals.

When the real battle began against England, USA held on to edge the British with a Perry Baker hat trick that sealed a 17-12 victory and a spot in the Semi Finals. Moving on to face Olympic Gold Medalist Fiji, the Eagles channeled the magnetic energy in the stadium to give-up only one opposing try and score three of their own for a chance to take the Gold.

By the time they took the pitch for the Cup Final against Argentina, the United States was unstoppable. With a 28-point shutout and Sam Boyd Stadium decorated by USA fans, the Men's Eagles Sevens raised the Cup and commemorated the brightest moment in team history.

WHO TO WATCH

With Maka Unufe and Joe Schroeder out with respective injuries, Brett Thompson and Nick Boyer earn an opportunity to wear the Eagle. And, while Thompson is a veteran on the scene, Boyer will be competing in his second ever tournament. 

An accurate workhorse on the pitch, Folau Niua is the Eagles' second leading scorer through five stops in the 2017-18 Series. With 5 tries and 35 conversions, Niua has scored a total of 95 points this season -- just over 15% of USA's total points thus far. It isn't just that he can rack up the scoreboard, it's also his ability to remain physical, adapt to defend and keep the ball in play when it matters most. 

Considered one of the fastest men in rugby, Carlin Isles is approaching a milestone of his very own. With 15 total tries this season, Isles only needs one more to reach 100 total career tries. With momentum from last week's win driving him forward, fans in Vancouver should look to see the speedster dart across the line many times this weekend.

It goes without saying that big man Danny Barrett can charge his way past anything on the pitch. With his 2 tries in Hamilton and 4 tries in Las Vegas, it comes as no surprise that Barrett joined Captain Ben Pinkelman and Perry Baker as one of three Eagles selected to the USA Sevens Dream Team. 

Joining the ranks of Niua, Isles and the Dream Team is Martin Iosefo who has consistently scored 3 tries at each stop dating back to Sydney. Eyes should be peeled for what Iosefo will bring at BC Place.

HEAR IT FROM THE HEAD COACH, MIKE FRIDAY

On the USA Sevens run ...
"We've had to recover first and foremost from taking further injuries. Whilst this is a shame, it provides more opportunities for others to step up. We as a group are under no illusion how hard this weekend will be; and the reality is, last week is gone and we have achieved nothing this week. So, our hunger, attitudes and ability to adapt will need to be on point. We can't take any of that for granted or we will pay the price. "

On the chance to finish higher than ever before ...
"We are not looking past Uruguay as we strive to show a 'pride in consistency of performance' -- that is the holy grail for us. Having the grit and resilience to work hard and stay focused will allow us to reach for that. Then, the outcome will take care of itself."

On the challenge ahead ... 
"There are technical areas of focus we need to improve on from last week whilst maintaining other areas we've worked on in the classroom and on the pitch. Vancouver is a wide, fast pitch and if we can technically be on point -- building on last week's attitude in work -- then we will be in the mix."

THE COMPETITION

While it seemed as if nothing could stop the Eagles in Las Vegas, Vancouver will bring a different dynamic to competition. Now on the map as a Series Stop Winner and a formidable force in Pool A, the Eagles will begin with Uruguay who currently sits last (18th) in the overall standings with 1 point. A challenging battle against rival-Canada, who sits in 11th place with a home crowd singing their praises will be next; followed by 4th place Australia (72 points) to close out Day One.

Men's Eagles Sevens Roster | Canada Sevens

Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Nick Boyer

Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Malon Al-Jiboori
Matai Leuta
Chris Mattina
Cody Melphy
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman (C)
Brett Thompson
Kevon Williams

Men's Eagles Sevens Staff | Canada Sevens

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

Men's Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool A | Canada Sevens

LIVE on ESPN3
vs. Uruguay | Sat, Mar. 10 - 3:04 PM ET
vs. Canada | Sat, Mar. 10 - 6:36 PM ET
vs. Australia | Sat, Mar. 10 - 10:08 PM ET

WHERE WE STAND

HSBC World Series Standing: 6th
HSBC World Series Points: 58
Most Tries Scored by Player: Perry Baker, 3rd
Most Tries Scored by Team: USA, 5th
Most Points Scored by a Team: USA, 5th

TO SUM IT UP

The United States is on the rise. Last weekend's Cup Final victory was one of the proudest moments in Eagles Sevens history and only benchmarks the opportunities that lie ahead. With the team in position to climb in the rankings and finish the Series higher than ever before, Uruguay, Canada and Australia must be prepared for a startling level of determination.

Likewise, USA will need to remain focused to consistently produce against pool play selections that become more challenging with each matchup. Canada will be focused on achieving the same results USA did in Las Vegas (winning the Cup in front of a home crowd), Uruguay will be anxious to show their competitive capabilities and Australia will again present a daunting attack.

Overall, the stage is set with the Eagles' arrival in Vancouver for Canada Sevens March 10-11. Matches will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN3 with updates for the almost sold-out tournament available by following @USArugby on Twitter.