USA Men’s Sevens coach Al Caravelli is a happy camper. When the Eagles’ May training camp begins at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California this week he expects the highest level of competition for places since taking the helm of the programme five years ago. The team will train this week and depart for the UK on 16 May to compete in the last two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Edinburgh (May 21-22) and London (May 28-29).
USA Eagle competition for places heats up.
When the Eagles’ May training camp begins at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California this week he expects the highest level of competition for places since taking the helm of the programme five years ago.
The team will train this week and depart for the UK on 16 May to compete in the last two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Edinburgh (May 21-22) and London (May 28-29).
“Usually at this stage of the Series we take an inexperienced, newer team to London and Scotland. But with several players returning from injury, we will have an experienced and talented squad,” Caravelli said.
Coming back from injury are Nese Malifa, Nu’u Punimata, Rocco Mauer and Mile Pulu, who was enjoying his best ever form before injury struck.
A less experienced side struggled a little in Hong Kong but in Adelaide the Eagles powered their way to a Bowl final where they defeated Kenya to bring home silverware and Series points.
Currently they sit in 10th place on the Series table, having also taken points at the first event of the season in Dubai.
“Competition will be fierce for all positions,” Caravelli noted, “Just look at the half backs: Marco [Barnard], Shalom [Suniula], Nese [Malifa], Tai [Enosa], Pete [Tiberio] and Zach Pangelinan.”
While the talent at the May camp is remarkable, the versatility of several players also offers Caravelli flexibility in selection.
“The really nice thing is that several players can play multiple positions. [Paul] Emerick can play center, wing, prop and hooker. Hawley can play hooker, prop, fly half, centre and wing.
At centre, Roland [Suniula], Mile [Pulu] and Mike Palefau are competing for spots. Mike [Palefau] can play wing as well and so can Mile [Pulu].”
Three players with pace and physicality are competing for spots on the wing: Justin Boyd, Rocco Mauer, and Miles Craigwell. In the forwards, Zack Test, Colin Hawley, Todd Clever, Nu’u Punimata, and Cameron Dolan will be battling for inclusion on the traveling squad.
Dolan is the greenest of the bunch, but Caravelli rates the Life eight man and has been tracking him since he was an Under 17.
Ten players invited to this camp will have trained for almost two straight weeks at the OTC when the team is selected as they took part in a camp for the Eagles fifteens squad last week in the build up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
USA Sevens player pool: Marco Barnard (Pretoria Harlequins), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins), Miles Craigwell (NYAC), Paul Emerick (Life), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Matt Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), Mile Pulu (San Francisco Golden Gate), Roland Suniula (Boston), Shalom Suniula (Pearl City), Zack Test (At Large), Peter Tiberio (Univ. of Arizona), Nu’u Punimata (Old Puget Sound Beach), Cameron Dolan (Life) Todd Clever (Suntory, Japan), Zach Pangelinan (Old Mission Bay Athletic Club)