CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The final preseason Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp of 2016 has begun, with 16 invited athletes joining six Residents of the Olympic Training Center in training for a spot at Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Dec. 2-3.
Eagles Assistant Coach Chris Brown is overseeing Camp in southern California as Head Coach Mike Friday finishes his duties on tour with the Men’s Eagles, a squad that features four Residents, including captain Madison Hughes. Selections for the first round of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will be made post-Camp.
Danny Barrett and Folau Niua played with the XVs team in Chicago at “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” but did not join the tour to Europe, instead returning to the OTC for final Series preparations. Combined, the duo has made 63 appearances on the circuit to provide Brown and the 16 invited players – all uncapped in sevens – an experienced outlook on preseason.
“It’s been a tough summer; a long preseason with half of it with only five to 10 players because of the number involved with 15s,” Brown said. “It is tough doing it again and again for a few of the men who have been around for a while now because a lot of the workouts and processes they have to do is the same old, same old, but it’s the foundation of the year ahead and needs to be completed.”
While five of the invited players – Alex Faison-Donahoe, Jihad Khabir, Cameron Marek, Bailey Stringer, and Zach Webber – are nearing holiday breaks at colleges across the country, there are two high school athletes in attendance in Naima Fualaau of Peninsula Green Rugby Club and Ryan James of Aztec Warriors Youth Rugby.
A few senior club athletes like Aaron ‘Spike’ Davis and Don Pati have been to several Camps in the past few seasons and have represented the program with the USA Falcons or USA Hawks development sides, and others – like Joey Sok and Chris Turori – have previously been Residents at the OTC. The inclusion of experienced players alongside the younger talent will be instrumental moving forward as the Eagles prepare not only for the Sevens Series, but the upcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
“The few new guys have helped bring a little energy and we look forward to getting into Camp this week, where the additional playing numbers will allow us to sharpen up on some of the finer details in better gameplay situations,” Brown said. “It’s also key we identify and bring in players who have the potential to compete in one to three years’ time to develop understanding and the required physicality of the international sevens circuit.”
Selections for the first round of the 2016-17 Series, which commences in the United Arab Emirates Friday, Dec. 2, will be announced following the end Camp.
Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp | Nov. 20 – 26
Aaron ‘Spike’ Davis – Columbus Rugby Club
Paul Eteaki – Euless Texans Rugby Club
Alex Faison-Donahoe – Kutztown University
Naima Fualaau – Peninsula Green Rugby Club
Alec Gletzer – Olympic Club
Junior Helu – Life West
Ryan James – Aztec Warriors Youth Rugby
Jihad Khabir – American International College
Cameron Marek – Central Washington University
Don Pati – Park City Haggis Rugby Football Club
Joey Sok – Columbus Rugby Club
Bailey Stringer – Arizona State University
Connor Wallace-Sims – Old Blue of New York
Zach Webber – Brigham Young University
Men’s Eagles Sevens | 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Schedule
Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens – Dec. 2-3
HSBC Cape Town Sevens – Dec. 10-11
HSBC Wellington Sevens – Jan. 28-29
HSBC Sydney 7s – Feb. 6-7
HSBC USA Sevens – March 3-5
HSBC Canada Sevens – March 11-12
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens – April 7-9
HSBC Singapore Sevens – April 15-16
HSBC Paris 7s – May 13-14
HSBC London Sevens – May 20-21