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USA Men's Sevens finalists for Team of the Month in Team USA's Best of January Awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of January, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at TeamUSA.org/Awards through midnight Tuesday, Feb. 5.

A total of 10 sports – including bobsled, fencing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, luge, Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing, rugby, track cycling and wrestling – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round.

JANUARY FINALISTS

Male Athlete of the Month

Nathan Chen (Salt Lake City, Utah), Figure Skating
Won his third consecutive U.S. title in Detroit, smashing his own scoring records for short program, free skate and overall score, as well as the U.S. record for the highest margin of victory at 58.21 points.

Alex Ferreira (Aspen, Colorado), Freestyle Skiing
Claimed his first X Games gold medal in superpipe in his hometown of Aspen, Colorado, scoring a 92.66 on his second run to best the competition by 2.33 points.

Race Imboden (Brooklyn, New York), Fencing
Secured two world cup medals in foil fencing with a silver at the world cup in Tokyo and a bronze at the world cup in Paris to retain his No. 3 world ranking.

Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota), Para Nordic Skiing
Earned two silver medals in the men’s sitting class of the middle-distance cross-country and biathlon sprint at the world cup in Ostersund, Sweden, marking his first career cross-country world cup podium finish.

Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado), Para Alpine Skiing
Won his first career world championship medals, earning two bronzes in the men’s standing class of giant slalom and super combined in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and Sella Nevea, Italy.

Female Athlete of the Month

Alysa Liu (Richmond, California), Figure Skating
At age 13, became the youngest skater ever to win a U.S. title, the first American woman to land two triple axels in a single performance and just the second woman in the world to land three triple axels in a single competition.

Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky), Para Nordic Skiing
Secured four medals in the women’s sitting class at the world cup in Ostersund, Sweden, including golds in middle-distance cross-country and cross-country sprint, and silvers in biathlon sprint and biathlon individual.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Katy, Texas), Wrestling
Became the first American wrestler in any discipline to win three career titles at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, widely considered the toughest open freestyle event in the world.

Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Georgia), Bobsled
Medaled in every women’s bobsled world cup race in January, including a gold-medal-finish with Lauren Gibbs in St. Moritz, Switzerland, to end Germany’s 24-race winning streak in world cup and Olympic bobsled races.

Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Connecticut), Luge
Secured the women’s bronze medal at the world championships in Winterberg, Germany, marking her first career senior championship podium finish 11 months after a crash at the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 in which she broke a bone in her neck and back.

Team of the Month

U.S. men’s foil team, Fencing
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, California), Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Race Imboden (Brooklyn, New York) and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, California) won the silver medal at the world cup in Tokyo, and added a bronze medal at the world cup in Paris, extending the team’s streak to nine straight world cup podium finishes to retain its No. 1 world ranking.

U.S. men’s team, Rugby Sevens
Won its third straight silver medal in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, defeating host and reigning world cup champion New Zealand to tie Fiji for the No. 1 ranking in the world.

U.S. men’s team pursuit, Track Cycling
Eric Young (Geneva, Illinois), Colby Lange (Vail Valley, Colorado), Ashton Lambie (Lincoln, Nebraska) and Danny Summerhill (Centennial, Colorado) earned the silver medal in team pursuit at the world cup in Hong Kong, marking the best finish for a U.S. men’s team pursuit squad in over a decade.

SELECTION PROCESS

Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per sport discipline. An internal nominating committee selects finalists to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.

Men's Eagles Sevens: HSBC Cape Town Sevens Preview

CAPE TOWN, RSA. – Following their silver medal victory to open an Olympic qualifying year, the Men’s Eagles Sevens prepare for the second stop of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 at HSBC Cape Town Sevens. The USA will open in Pool B ranked second in the current standings.

This Series Last Stop (Dubai Sevens 2018)

The ever-impressive Eagles Sevens opened pool play of Dubai Sevens 2018 with outstanding performances against Spain and Wales. Having already clinched a place in the coveted knockout rounds, the USA men fell to New Zealand in their final game of Pool C which forced a meeting with Olympic Champion Fiji in the Cup Quarterfinals.

It was a statement win over the Rio Gold Medalist that set fans at The Sevens Stadium wild as the United States soared to a 24-14 victory. Then, when all could have been lost, a heroic try on the final play by Danny Barrett lifted the squad to a 22-17 result over Australia where the stage was set for a rematch with the All Blacks Sevens in the Cup Final.

Hungry for the Gold medal, the Eagles Sevens held New Zealand without a score for the first five minutes of play but were ultimately overcome by a 5-21 All Blacks Sevens win.

Though the tournament hadn’t concluded the way they’d hoped, the USA still achieved their highest ever finish in Dubai and a medal to open the World Series 2019 with a second-place ranking.

Who to Watch

Head Coach Mike Friday makes no changes to the match-day 13 from last week’s competition at Dubai Sevens 2018.

Eagles Sevens’ Danny Barrett is always top amongst any “must-watch” list with a commanding presence that breeds physicality into every USA attack. The athlete played a vital role in helping the United States advance to the medal rounds with his aforementioned try against Australia. Sevens fans will be thrilled to see the same combination of speed and power well on display in Cape Town.

Notoriety is also prevalent in Barrett’s playmaking counterpart Folau Niua. Niua’s quick tap and offload to Barrett was a crucial factor in the match-winning try and also accompanied a trio of scores that Niua brought in himself. Carrying 15 points from the last tournament, Niua will be another attention grabber this weekend.

And, speaking of attention, Matai Leuta and Stephen Tomasin both emerged notably in Dubai. Leuta capped off a collection of powerful runs by crossing the tryline twice while Tomasin — who also scored twice — surpassed his World Series career 50 try mark.

The Competition

Headlining Pool B alongside eighth-place Argentina, 12th place Spain and 14th place Japan, the United States will need to be weary of three ambitious teams who still have everything to play for early in the season. Where the USA climbed from 15th place to 6th place following their season opener in 2017, Argentina, Spain and Japan will be every bit as anxious to rise the same.

The Eagles Sevens first face Japan at 5:05 AM ET followed by Spain at 8:26 AM ET and then Argentina at 12:12 PM ET. All matches will be LIVE on ESPN+.

Hear it from Head Coach Mike Friday

On competition in pool play…
“This group is a big challenge second week as both Japan and Spain continued to improve with every game they play and were within a score of winning games against the traditional rugby super powers. We will need to be on point with our effort and accuracy and try to control possession in both of these games. The last game of the group will come against the hugely physical Argentina team where we are still to ‘right the wrong’ from that last game at Rugby World Cup Sevens as it still hurts every one of us.”

On challenges throughout the week…
“This is the second week where we have had to limit what we do as a squad on the pitch. The initial 17 hour travel and three meal change over to Dubai is huge for us; and to then play the two days physically drains everything out of the boys. So, to fly another 11 hours one day later has carried significant impact on our energy levels and bodies through the week.

“Due to that, we waited to finalize the squad and concentrated fully on trying to be ready without dwelling on last weekend where we are hugely disappointed to have lost the Gold medal. We are determined as a group to continue moving forward and trying to force the USA into the Top 4 in the world. This weekend gives us another opportunity to do that and the spirit of the squad is one of collective determination in what will be a very challenging and highly competitive tournament.”

To Sum it Up

The United States men opened their season with the best result they have ever achieved at Dubai Sevens: a silver medal. Though the pride of silver did not deplete the sting of losing Gold, the Eagles Sevens are faced with another opportunity to build on their second-place standing in the World Series. A Top 4 finish is eyed by all 16 teams on the circuit, but with a steadfast lead and the depth of many players increasing, everything still lies ahead.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Starting Roster

All players are part of the Men’s Sevens residency program.

1. Carlin Isles
2. Ben Pinkelman
3. Danny Barrett
4. Matai Leuta
5. Brett Thompson
6. Kevon Williams
7. Folau Niua
8. Maceo Brown
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

Injury Reserve:
13. Marcus Tupuola*

*Could make first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff

Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony “Rocky” Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack

HSBC Cape Town Sevens Schedule

Pool B | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN+

vs. Japan | Sat, Dec. 8 – 5:05 AM ET
vs. Spain | Sat, Dec. 8 – 8:26 AM ET
vs. Argentina | Sat, Dec. 8 – 12:12 PM ET

*Knockout rounds begin Sun, Dec. 9 at 3:58 AM ET. Updated matchups will be available by following @USARugby on Twitter.

Top 5 Placings for USA 

(following Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens 2018)

Category Placing
HSBC World Series Standing 2019 2nd (19 points)
Most Tries Scored by a Player Perry Baker, 5th (6 tries)
Most Conversions Scored by a Player Madison Hughes, 4th (9 conversions)
Most Tries Scored by a Team 5th (20 tries)

Visit World Series Stats Center

Men's Eagles Sevens: Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Preview

CHULA VISTA, CA. – Following their sixth-place finish at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, the Men’s Eagles Sevens will begin their Olympic qualifying year at the first stop of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 at Dubai Sevens, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Last Time on the Pitch

The Men’s Eagles Sevens last took the pitch in the 5/6 Place Final of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in July — the first-ever U.S. hosted Rugby World Cup which took place at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

There, the squad battled through the straight knockout format to earn a victory over Wales before a crushing loss to England in extra time forced them out of contention for the World Champion title.

After a robust finish over Scotland, the United States men fell to Argentina; and though it wasn’t the finish they’d fought for, the USA still achieved their highest ever placing in a Rugby World Cup Sevens. Prior to 2018, the Men’s Sevens had never before concluded the competition higher than 13th, marking a climb of 7 places.

With the World Cup now behind them, Head Coach Mike Friday and the American men have set their sights on the most important battle ahead: qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Given they left the last iteration of Dubai Sevens (2017) with a winless result — and with the bar set that much higher in the spirit of Tokyo 2020 — the United States men can be expected to play with the highest caliber of intensity.

Who to Watch

Head Coach Mike Friday has selected an extended traveling group of 14 athletes with a final starting 12 selected closer to the start of competition.

Of the 14, Maceo Brown and Marcus Tupuola will have the opportunity to make their national team debut after a strong performance with the developmental Men’s Falcons at the AF International Sevens and RugbyTown Sevens put them ahead for selection.

Tupuola and Brown will have another chance to prove themselves alongside 12 Eagles Sevens who consistently appear on the Series circuit.

Nominated for his second-consecutive World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year honors, USA fans will be thrilled to see Perry Baker back in the mix for Dubai and joined by fellow speedster Carlin Isles. Combined, both Isles and Baker scored 86 tries for the United States last season (not counting Rugby World Cup Sevens), accounting to 41% of all tries scored by the USA men.

If named to the final 12, sevens fans’ favorite playmaker Folau Niua will make his 60th World Rugby Sevens Series appearance, benchmarking a career filled with capital moments that earned Niua his honorable reputation.

A duo of debutants, another of speedsters, a playmaker and eight other studs will all be lead by Captain Madison Hughes in what will be the first appearance for the senior Men’s Sevens program in four months.

The Competition

Facing Spain, Wales and World Champion New Zealand will be no easy feat with each side battle-hardened from four months of preparation.

Spain will be first up for the Men’s Sevens with a battle set at 12 AM ET on Day One. The Spanish side missed Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and concluded their World Series run in 11th place last season, giving them much to prove in their first battle of Dubai.

Wales will be next at 3 AM ET and can be expected to enter the match with redemption top of mind after falling to the United States at the World Cup, finishing 11th in San Francisco and capping off a World Series 2018 season in 14th place.

Then will come the battle against back-to-back World Cup Champion New Zealand who finished their World Series season in third-place. The All Blacks Sevens and USA will both conclude the pool rounds against one another at 9:22 AM ET.

Hear it from Head Coach Mike Friday

On going into a new season…
New season new challenge. It has been an interesting preseason for us given the changes to preparation and personnel that we have implemented to help us continuously evolve. We have also experienced a few unnecessary distractions which as a group we have had to contend with.”

On the main goal …
“Olympic qualification is the target for us in what will be an even more competitive season and I have no doubt the standard will improve once again. To try and continue to move forward we need to strive to achieve a consistency to our game in all matches and seek to eradicate any drops in performance during the same tournaments that hurt us last season. We are confident that if we can remain healthy and resilient to the challenge, we have what it takes to compete for every cup.”

On the potential two new debutants Marcus Tupuola and Maceo Brown…
“Both Marcus and Maceo have done remarkably well and worked very hard all summer to get this opportunity. Firstly this is a testament to JD Stephenson’s talent identification work which put both in the Collegiate All-American pathway and in front of us at RugbyTown Sevens these last two years.”

To Sum it Up

This HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 will bring an energy like never before. With rugby sevens on the doorstep of its second-ever inclusion in the Olympic Games, all teams will compete with a shattering momentum to finish in the Top 4 and seal their qualification.

Top among them will be the Men’s Eagles Sevens who ride fast into Dubai Sevens 2018 to challenge Spain, Wales and New Zealand in Pool C.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Extended Roster

All players are part of the Men’s Sevens residency program.

Perry Baker
Danny Barrett
Maceo Brown*
Madison Hughes (Captain)
Martin Iosefo
Carlin Isles
Matai Leuta
Cody Melphy
Folau Niua
Ben Pinkelman
Brett Thompson
Steve Tomasin
Marcus Tupuola*
Kevon Williams

*Could make their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance.

Men’s Eagles Sevens Staff

Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Anthony “Rocky” Roques
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack

Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens Schedule

Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN Networks (exact network TBD)

vs Spain | Fri, Nov. 30 – 12 AM ET
vs Wales | Fri, Nov. 30 – 3 AM ET
vs New Zealand | Fri, Nov. 30 – 9:22 AM ET

Top 5 placings for USA

(following HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018)

HSBC World Series Standing 2018 6th (117 points)
Most Points Scored by a Player Carlin Isles, 4th (247 points)
Most Tries Scored by a Player Carlin Isles, 1st (49 tries)
Perry Baker, 5th (37 tries)
Most Points Scored by a Team 4th (1309)
Most Tries Scored by a Team 4th (205)

Anthony Roques selected as Assistant Coach for Men's Eagles Sevens

CHULA VISTA, CA. – Former RFU Coach and player Anthony Roques has been selected as the new Assistant Coach for the Men’s Eagles Sevens, USA Rugby announced today.

Previously an Assistant Coach for England Men’s Sevens from 2014-2018, Roques has been a part of three gold medal victories in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018 for both the men and women’s sides; as well as a silver medal at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

In just four years with the union, Roques helped the England men’s side qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and achieve their highest World Series finish in a decade (2nd place) at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

A former England player himself, the new Assistant Coach has competed in 28 World Rugby Sevens tournaments — including 7 cup wins — along with the Commonwealth Games 2002 and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005. He also spent time in the Premiership with the Saracens and London Irish from 1997-2005 before retiring and moving into coaching.

Joining the USA Rugby setup at the start of an Olympic qualifying year, Roques’ expertise as a player and a coach will be undoubted resources to the growth of the Men’s Sevens program ahead of Tokyo 2020.

“I am very honored and excited to be joining such a highly regarded team within the World Series,” said Roques. “This squad has a really good blend of speed and power and I hope my attributes as a coach can further support the development of this program.

“Having been coached by Mike Friday and played with Phil Greening during my time with England Sevens, I am looking forward to contributing to the amazing work they’ve done and being a part of the Men’s Sevens’ journey.”

With former Assistant Coach Chris Brown now leading the Women’s Sevens program, Head Coach Mike Friday is elated to have another proven rugby professional on board.

“Rocky is a hugely-experienced and proven international coach who understands what it takes to win on the World Series circuit. He has the personality and Rugby IQ to bring new dimensions and complement the existing dynamic,” said Friday.

“He is already fully-embedded into the group and challenges the boys and the management in a way we need so we can continue to evolve as a collective in a hugely challenging two years.”

Roques’ first appearance as Assistant Coach will be the Dubai Sevens 2018 where the USA men will officially begin their Olympic qualifying year.

The competition takes place Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 with the United States drawn in Pool C alongside New Zealand, Spain and Wales. Broadcast information will be announced closer to date.

Perry Baker earns consecutive World Rugby Men's Sevens Player of the Year nomination

DUBLIN, IRE – World Rugby has revealed the shortlists for the Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year 2018 awards in association with HSBC, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November. The United States Perry Baker earned his second consecutive nomination, having won the honor in 2017.

The shortlists feature players from four nations, including three previous recipients of the prestigious award, with five of them having featured in the dream teams for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 or Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

Both shortlists were selected by players, match officials and commentators on the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

WORLD RUGBY MEN’S SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

PERRY BAKER (USA)
The oldest of the nominees at 32 and the 2017 recipient of this prestigious award, Perry Baker was at his scintillating best in Las Vegas in March, scoring eight tries – six of them in the knockout stages – as USA tasted success on home soil for the first time. The Eagles flyer has always had electric pace and the ability to create something out of nothing, but now has the all-round game to go with his natural speed to make him even more of a lethal finisher. The crowd favourite scored 37 tries in seven events on the 2018 series, missing the finale in Europe due to injury before returning to help USA to sixth place at RWC Sevens in San Francisco.

BEN O’DONNELL (AUSTRALIA)
Australia’s Ben O’Donnell enjoyed a debut season to remember on the series in 2018, scoring 32 tries across nine rounds – including two in the HSBC Sydney Sevens final as the hosts secured a first Cup title in six years. Nominated for the Rookie of the Year award, O’Donnell was the DHL Impact Player on three occasions and runner-up for the series accolade. A powerful runner with the ability to come off both feet, the 23-year-old is a constant threat to opponents with his work-rate and hunger to get his hands on the ball making him a key figure for Australia.

JERRY TUWAI (FIJI)
Fijian playmaker Jerry Tuwai earns a nomination for the second year running after once again carving open defences at will with his vision and step, making the most of his diminutive frame to dart through gaps to create opportunities for himself or those around him. The 29-year-old led Fiji to five titles on the 2018 series, including four in a row from Vancouver to London, and scored 25 tries along the way to also earn a place in the HSBC Dream Team for the series. Fiji missed out on the overall series title by two points to South Africa, had to settle for silver in the Commonwealth Games and then finished fourth at RWC Sevens, but Tuwai always plays with a smile on his face.

WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

MICHAELA BLYDE (NEW ZEALAND)
The youngest nominee at only 22, Michaela Blyde is in contention to win the award for the second year running after another impressive season with the Black Ferns Sevens that saw her named in the HSBC Dream Teams for both the series and RWC Sevens. The DHL Impact Player of the Series for a second time in 2018, Blyde scored 37 tries across the five rounds – second only to team-mate Woodman – as New Zealand finished as runners-up after winning the Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris rounds. Blyde, blessed with electric pace and quick feet, scored another nine to help New Zealand claim back-to-back RWC Sevens titles in San Francisco, including a hat-trick in the final against France. The season also saw her win an historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

SARAH GOSS (NEW ZEALAND)
The inspirational captain of the Black Ferns Sevens for the last four years, Sarah Goss led her side to an historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in April, tournament victories in Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris and a successful defence of the RWC Sevens crown in a run of 27 consecutive wins. The 25-year-old, who started every match in the 2018 series, has a tireless work ethic which, combined with her dogged defence and vision, enables her to unlock defences for herself and her team-mates. Goss was named in the HSBC Dream Team for RWC Sevens in San Francisco after also receiving the UL Mark of Excellence as the best player in the tournament.

PORTIA WOODMAN (NEW ZEALAND)
The only player to be named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in both sevens (2015) and 15s (2017), Portia Woodman was at her devastating best in the 2018 series to finish as both the top try scorer and point scorer with 43 and 215 respectively across the five events. The former netballer may have moved into the forwards in sevens, but with her blistering pace, unbelievable footwork and power she remains a threat from anywhere on the pitch, leaving others in her wake to score herself or create opportunities for her team-mates. The 27-year-old’s displays inevitably earned her a place in the HSBC Dream Team for both the series and RWC Sevens.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens is a fan-favorite and this year we have enjoyed another incredible season of men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and, of course, a record-breaking RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.

“These exceptional sevens athletes have been at the heart of the success story, inspiring a new generation of fans and players with their skill and athleticism. All are superb ambassadors for our sport and will play a huge part in the sevens success story for many seasons to come.”

These awards are two of 13 categories of awards, including the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year, World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and Award for Character.

For more details on the panel members for each of the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards/voting-panel.

For more information on the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards.

One change made as Eagles turn final corner on Sevens Series

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday has made his final roster selections for the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series.

Twenty athletes convened at the Olympic Training Center with hopes of claiming one of the 12 available roster spots for Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens and Marriott London Sevens. The Eagles will see only one roster change from the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and Tokyo Sevens with the addition of Martin Iosefo.

Iosefo made his debut for the U.S. in Dubai after impressing with the AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans at 2014 Serevi RugbyTown Sevens. Scoring two tries in four series legs, the University of Montana forward played his way into starting roles until academic commitments made him unavailable for the two most recent tournaments.

“Having Martin back brings real balance to our squad as he is a powerful, attacking option whether he is deployed in the back line or in the forwards,” Friday said. “We know he hits hard defensively and has footwork and the eye for a gap in attack, whether that is using his feet or power.”

The Eagles moved up to sixth in the Series standings with a Plate Final appearance in Hong Kong and a Bowl Final victory in Tokyo. Both Finals were played against Australia, which dropped out of the top four after England’s Cup win in Tokyo.

The U.S. is the highest-ranked squad in Glasgow’s Pool D and will open the tournament at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday, May 9, against Canada. Matches against Japan and Argentina will follow on day one as the Eagles look to make their fifth Cup Quarterfinals of the season.

“That first match will no doubt be a spicy game as always being a derby, but it is no different to any [first match] on day one,” Friday said. “We need to get off to a good start or it just makes progressing to the Cup competition a much harder task.”

Following the culmination of the 2014-15 Sevens World Series, the top four nations in the standings will earn automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. With 71 points, the U.S. sits 29 points behind England for fourth place. Should the Eagles not reach fourth this season, they will seek Olympic qualification at the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships in Cary, N.C., the weekend of June 13.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens / Marriott London Sevens
1. Carlin Isles
2. Mataiyasi Leuta
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Martin Iosefo

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens
v Canada – Saturday, May 9 – 5:30 a.m. ET
v Japan – Saturday, May 9 – 8:58 a.m. ET
v Argentina – Saturday, May 9 – 11:48 a.m. ET

Eagles continue on to Tokyo Sevens Bowl Final

TOKYO – The Men’s Eagles Sevens will face Australia in the Tokyo Sevens Bowl Final Sunday after beating Samoa, 22-5, in the Semifinal.

Carlin Isles scored two tries as the Eagles answered Samoa’s early score with four unanswered. The Final against Australia, triumphant in the same matchup in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Plate Final last weekend, kicks off at 3:35 a.m. ET.

The two teams traded spells of momentum in the opening minutes of the match. The Eagles kept their defensive shape, with Isles patrolling the wing and captain Madison Hughes controlling as sweeper.

A midfield lineout to the U.S. in the fifth minute was mistaken by Folau Niua, giving Samoa a quick tap. Taken quickly, Alefosio Tapili broke down the wing and offloaded in the tackle to Faalemiga Selesele for the try and 5-0 lead.

The Eagles won the ensuing restart and set up inside Samoa’s half. Hughes sent a grubber kick towards the touch line at the 10, where Isles kicked it forward and Hughes did the same before the captain picked it up for the try.

The newly-found, 7-5 lead was quickly extended with another restart win for the Eagles. Maka Unufe used his reach to knock it to his teammates and Bender received the ball on the wing. He got within five meters of the try line before being tackled and a strong clearance in the breakdown by Niua left the ball free for Isles to take in-goal.

The 12-5 lead seemed to be under threat in the 10th minute when Isles tackled a Samoan attacker just ahead of the corner of the try line. The two slid over the line and into touch with Isles keeping the ball from touching the grass in the try zone.

The Eagles kept possession well by not spreading themselves too thin while moving forward, and continuous support forced Samoa into taking consecutive penalties. The referee pulled out a yellow card for Tomasi Alosio to send the Samoan to the sin bin for most of the remaining two minutes.

Niua looked to take advantage with the extra player on the field and passed to Isles to extend the lead to 17-5 before Barrett took the ball from the restart into the try zone to bring the final score to 22-5.

Australia defeated Wales in the first Bowl Semifinal at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground Sunday to set up the rematch with the Eagles in the Bowl Final. The match can be viewed on Universal Sports at 3:35 a.m. ET, with live match updates provided by @USARugby on Twitter.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Samoa
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta

Samoa | v. USA
1. Greg Lealofi
2. Alefosio Tapili
3. Faalemiga Selesele
4. Tofatuimoana Solia
5. Lafaele Vaa
6. Alatasi Tupou
7. Lolo Lui
8. Tom Iosefo
9. Siaosi Asofolau
10. Samoa Toloa
11. Tila Mealoi
12. Tomasi Alosio

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 22
Tries: Hughes, Isles (2), Barrett
Conversions: Hughes

Samoa | 5
Tries: Selesele
Conversions: N/A

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens
v Kenya – L 27-5
v Canada – W 22-14
v South Africa – L 24-15
Bowl QF v Portugal – W 39-0
Bowl SF v Samoa – W 22-5
Bowl Final v Australia – Sunday, April 5 – 3:35 a.m. ET

Eagles steamroll Portugal, reach Tokyo Sevens Bowl Semifinals

TOKYO – Mataiyasi Leuta’s first World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series try capped a seven-try, 39-0, Tokyo Sevens Bowl Quarterfinal victory for the Men’s Eagles Sevens against Portugal Sunday.

Eagles Head Coach Mike Friday was able to empty his bench in the win, which featured the return of Folau Niua. Niua missed the third day of Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens a week ago and Saturday’s action at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium with a six-match disciplinary ban.

With the freshest legs on the pitch, Niua opened the scoring in the second minute of the match. The Eagles gained possession on the kickoff and made it to midfield before losing the ball into touch. The defensive line pushed Portugal towards its own try line, where it relieved the pressure with a clearance kick.

Niua fooled his opposite number at the 10 with a dummy and ran 60 meters for a try between the sticks. He kicked his own conversion for the 7-0 lead.

Maka Unufe gave his team possession by jumping for Niua’s restart and knocking it to Garrett Bender. Niua made another dummy before being tackled outside the try line, but Bender was there to win the ruck. Physically dominant, Bender spun away from the ruck with the ball and reached over to dot down the ball in-goal.

Bender was instrumental in extending the Eagles’ 12-0 lead in the fifth minute after the U.S. won the restart. The try-scorer passed the 10 before finding Danny Barrett along the touch line, where Barrett lowered his shoulder into Diogo Mateus. With the pitch wet from the falling rain, Barrett slid into the try zone to put the Eagles’ lead at 17-0.

Portugal failed to use its short time with the ball in the final minute of the half, with a handling error giving the U.S. possession. A patient attack from Friday’s starting seven drew multiple penalties and eventually a yellow card. Niua and Unufe set up a calculated play with the quick tap to create space on the wing for Madison Hughes, who did not have to run far to score.

The Eagles kept up the energy through the break but committed a few penalties in the opening minute of the second half, though Portugal lost the ball in its own lineout. Following another change of possession, the Eagles drew a penalty and Barrett took on two defenders at midfield, where he found two options for the offload in Carlin Isles and Unufe. Unufe accepted the pass and ran away from the defenders to extend the lead to 29-0.

Nate Augspurger, Perry Baker, Andrew Durutalo, Nick Edwards, and Leuta each entered the match in the second half to help maintain the intensity. Augspurger shook off the rust with a run down the touch line in the final minute. The substitute kept out of two tackles before spinning a pass behind his back to Durutalo, who dove over the try line for the Eagles’ sixth try.

With just seconds left on the clock, the Eagles restarted play with the kick from midfield. Leuta ran underneath the ball, stripped it from an attacker, broke one tackle, and fended another defender to score his first career try and bring the final score to 39-0.

Samoa defeated Hong Kong in the Bowl Quarterfinals to set up the Semifinal matchup. The Eagles previously faced Samoa in the Cup Quarterfinal in Hong Kong, a loss for the U.S.

Watch the Eagles in the Bowl Semifinal at 1:16 a.m. ET Sunday on Universal Sports, and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Portugal
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta

Portugal | v. USA
1. David Mateus
2. Benardo Cardoso
3. Joao Belo
4. Pedro Leal
5. Diogo Miranda
6. Carl Murray
7. Francisco Sousa
8. Diogo Mateus
9. Nuno Guedes
10. Duarte Moreira
11. Jose Vareta
12. Joao Vaz Antunes

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 39
Tries: Niua, Bender, Barrett, Hughes, Unufe, Durutalo, Leuta
Conversions: Niua, Hughes

Portugal | 0
Tries: N/A
Conversions: N/A

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens
v Kenya – L 27-5
v Canada – W 22-14
v South Africa – L 24-15
Bowl QF v Portugal – W 39-0
Bowl SF v Samoa – Sunday, April 5 – 1:16 a.m. ET

Isles scores three in Eagles' defeat of Canada in Tokyo

TOKYO – The Men’s Eagles Sevens bounced back from their earlier loss at Tokyo Sevens Saturday by beating Canada, 22-14, for the third time of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series.

Carlin Isles scored three tries and made a sizable defensive contribution in the victory, which keeps the Eagles in the hunt for the Cup round. A result against South Africa at 5:58 a.m. ET Saturday in the final match of Pool C could give the Eagles enough points to qualify.

Play was stopped in the second minute of the match as the Eagles looked to gain midfield, following a choppy start with multiple penalties awarded. Danny Barrett went into contact with Lucas Hammond, who stayed on the pitch. Play resumed, as did the physicality from the Eagles, with Maka Unufe standing up his opposite number before Canada lost the ball forward.

The Eagles lost the ball not far from their own try line in the fifth minute and Canada jumped on the opportunity to open the scoring. Justin Douglas took a tackler out of the play and offloaded to Mike Fuailefau for the try.

Much like the end of the first half in the loss to Kenya at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, the Eagles sought a try to cut the deficit before the halftime whistle. Madison Hughes sent a grubber kick from inside the defensive half to Canada’s 22, but Unufe could not reach it before it rolled into touch.

Well into the seventh minute, Barrett and Nick Edwards forced a turnover in a counterruck stemming from the lineout. Barrett popped the ball out of the ruck for his teammates to set up Isles’ first try of the match. The Eagles nearly overtook Canada’s 7-5 lead at the end of the half with time expired on the clock, but a knock forced the referee’s whistle.

Test was tackled as he caught the second-half restart, and Isles was there to take the ball from the ruck. The Eagles’ try-scorer showed his rugby smarts by utilizing the gap on the wing and got in behind the defensive line of Canada. Not even the sweeper could get a hand to Isles as he cut inside to the uprights. Hughes’ conversion gave the Eagles a 12-7 lead.

The restart again found the hand of Test as it was slapped backwards to the awaiting Garrett Bender, who drove his opposite number towards the try line. Canada took a penalty in the breakdown and the Eagles moved the ball wide. Edwards got the Eagles close and Test finished the play by diving around his teammate in-goal.

The Eagles took the 17-7 lead into the 13th minute, when Test’s clearance kick in-goal was blocked by Canada. Barrett, onside due to the touch on the ball, got a grip to keep it in the U.S.’s possession. The ball was lost in the breakdown, however, and Conor Trainor offloaded from the ground in front of the try line for John Moonlight to score.

Canada converted its second try to pull within three points at 17-14, but Isles made sure the lead stuck with a try in the final minute of the match for a 22-14 final.

The U.S. will finish play in Pool C at Tokyo Sevens against Series-leading South Africa at 5:58 a.m. ET Saturday. The seventh leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series can be viewed on Universal Sports, and live updates will be provided by @USARugby on Twitter.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. Canada
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta

Canada | v. USA
1. Sean White
2. Admir Cejvanovic
3. Mike Fuailefau
4. John Moonlight
5. Conor Trainor
6. Pat Kay
7. Lucas Hammond
8. Justin Douglas
9. Liam Underwood
10. Ciaran Hearn
11. Harry Jones
12. Adam Zaruba

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 22
Tries: Isles (3), Test
Conversions: Hughes

Canada | 14
Tries: Fuailefau, Moonlight
Conversions: Jones (2)

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens
v Kenya – L 27-5
v Canada – W 22-14
v South Africa – Saturday, April 4 – 5:58 a.m. ET

Eagles to contest Bowl at Tokyo Sevens

TOKYO – The Men’s Eagles Sevens will miss the Cup round on day two of Tokyo Sevens following a 24-15 loss to South Africa Saturday.

Defeat in the final Pool C match of the seventh leg of the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series for Mike Friday’s squad leaves the U.S. with five points. Canada advances to the Cup with South Africa following a 16-point defeat of Kenya.

Danny Barrett seemingly gave the Eagles a lead directly from the kickoff by catching the deflected ball. With his forward momentum, Barrett drove in-goal through a tackle, only to have the ball knocked out of his hands before it could be grounded.

Carlin Isles, fresh from a hat-trick performance against Canada at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, made a few crucial tackles in the ensuing play and showed the defensive work rate preached by Friday. He used the same effort to beat three South African defenders to the try line in the second minute to dive over for the match’s first try.

Isles was again put to the test in the fourth minute as South Africa’s attack neared the Eagles’ try line. Kyle Brown went into the contact just as hard as the speedster and came out the winner with a try for his efforts.

In the sixth minute, Madison Hughes sent a booming kick into South Africa’s end for Isles to chase. Though he was not able to get to the ball first, Isles kept hold of the ball carrier long enough for his teammates to rush down the pitch. The Eagles forced a turnover and looked to take the lead.

Garrett Bender made a nifty run to the inside from the wing through three defenders, and Durutalo grabbed the ball from the breakdown to reach over the try line and dot down in-goal.

The 10-5 lead at halftime did not last a full minute, as a knock by Bender on the kickoff gave South Africa a well-placed scrum. Cecil Afrika punished the error with a try for a 12-10 lead, and Werner Kok followed his teammate with a try of his own a minute later.

Test attempted to stem the bleeding by catching the restart, but it was knocked out of his hands as he was brought down by Durutalo. Ruhan Nel took the ball through the defensive line that had not formed to extend South Africa’s lead to 24-10.

Seabelo Senatla took out Perry Baker on the wing with a dangerous tackle, forcing the referee into action. The match official showed the Series-leading try-scorer a yellow card with two minutes still to play. It took nearly two minutes, but Barrett eventually found the try zone for the Eagles to end an extended attack and bring the final score to 24-15.

Despite an identical record to both Canada and Kenya, the Eagles’ point differential did not hold up through Canada’s 26-10 defeat of Kenya. The Eagles will play Portugal in the Bowl Quarterfinals at 9:58 p.m. ET Sunday. Watch Tokyo Sevens live on Universal Sports and follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | v. South Africa
1. Carlin Isles
2. Nic Edwards
3. Danny Barrett
4. Garrett Bender
5. Zack Test
6. Andrew Durutalo
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe
9. Nate Augspurger
10. Madison Hughes (C)
11. Perry Baker
12. Mataiyasi Leuta

South Africa | v. USA
1. Chris Dry
2. Carel du Preez
3. Frankie Horn
4. Kwagga Smith
5. Werner Kok
6. Kyle Brown
7. Branco du Preez
8. Ruhan Nel
9. Justin Geduld
10. Cecil Afrika
11. Seabelo Senatla
12. Rosko Specman

Men’s Eagles Sevens | 15
Tries: Isles, Durutalo, Barrett
Conversions: N/A

South Africa | 24
Tries: Brown, Afrika, Kok, Nel
Conversions: Afrika, Geduld

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens
v Kenya – L 27-5
v Canada – W 22-14
v South Africa – L 24-15
Bowl QF v Portugal – Saturday, April 4 – 9:58 p.m. ET