USA Men’s Sevens Preview: HSBC Singapore Sevens 2019

Round eight of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will run from April 12-14

UPDATE | Martin Iosefo ruled out due to injury; Ben Broselle shifts into No. 12 with Pat Blair in at No. 13. 

SINGAPORE - After winning their sixth medal of the season with Bronze in Hong Kong, the No. 1 Men’s Eagles Sevens will compete in the eighth round of their Olympic qualifying season at HSBC Singapore Sevens 2019, April 12-14. With a successful finish in Singapore, the USA could qualify for the Olympics ahead of the Series conclusion. Matches are broadcast LIVE on ESPN+.


THIS SERIES LAST STOP: BRONZE FINISH IN HONG KONG

Last weekend, the No. 1 Men’s Eagles Sevens won their sixth medal of the season with a Bronze finish at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. The USA battled through a challenging 1-2 finish in Pool Play to just barely make the Cup Quarterfinals and later contest for a medal.

The United States came out with a thrilling 36-7 victory over Spain where they reached a 22 point lead at halftime and held the Spanish to only one try. But the next two games didn’t go entirely as expected. Numerous errors allowed Wales to take an opening lead and ultimately sneak by 19-21 with a try on the final play. Then England used penalties to their advantage and came away with their first win over the USA this season, 22-28.

Still qualified for the quarterfinals on points differential, the Eagles Sevens returned with a spark against South Africa, cruising to a 21-12 victory that ensured they would contest for a medal no matter the next result. In the Semifinal, too much possession conceded near the goal line gave Fiji many avoidable tries and the USA fell 19-28. The United States came back to fight through late injuries in the Bronze Final and defeat Samoa 22-10 to reach the podium for a historic sixth time this season.

In the rankings, the Eagles Sevens hold the top placing with a lead of seven points over No. 2 Fiji, 12 points over No. 3 New Zealand, 31 points over No. 4 South Africa and 40 points over No. 5 England. A favorable result in Singapore could mean the USA qualifies for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 ahead of the Series conclusion in Paris.


THE SQUAD

Head Coach Mike Friday has made no changes to his 13-player roster for the third straight tournament, confirming the chemistry within the playing group amidst notable injuries.

Last week, Captain Madison Hughes surpassed legendary World Rugby Hall of Famer Waisale Serevi (Fiji) in all-time points scored, reaching the Top 10 in the statistical category. Hughes has made a notable impact this season, currently standing as the highest points scorer of all 16 teams in the World Series.

Ben Pinkelman also continues to leave an impact in his ability to remain calm under pressure and manage space around him to open up crucial scoring opportunities. Pinkelman is complemented by most-capped USA Sevens player Folau Niua who serves as a key support in moving the ball to the right areas of the field and keeping possession on the U.S. side.

The combination of fresh faces in Maceo Brown, Marcus Tupuola, Ben Broselle and Joe Schroeder have all been an equal asset to the squad, as all have stepped up in the wake of injuries to help the full group remain competitive. 


THE COMPETITION

Placed in a challenging group, the United States will face Wales, Kenya and England in Pool C.

Despite sitting at No. 15 in the rankings, Wales are not a team to be underestimated as proven in last week’s pool play battle in Hong Kong. The same can be said for England who sit at No. 5 and have always played well-contested matches against the Eagles Sevens. With the stakes for Olympic qualification at an all-time high and the English nine points behind a fourth-place standing, much can be expected in Singapore.

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MATCH RECAPS: usarugby.org/news


Hear it from Head Coach Mike Friday

On our ability to remain resilient amidst injuries…
“We had to absorb some more injuries in Hong Kong which further tested the depth of our squad and also provided opportunities and valuable big game experience for some of the boys. It’s these types of times where young men learn at the coal face and all players have to have those ‘get it wrong to get it right’ moments in big games. This way they have the battle scars to make them better come the next big game, which are coming thick and fast at we hit the end of season business.”

On the competition in pool play…
“It’s another very tricky pool as Hong Kong was and proved to be. Wales hurt us with their guilt and determination and they are fighting for their lives right now in a relegation dog fight. Kenya are also sucked into that dog fight and we saw signs of the power and physicality we associate with Kenya in full flow in Hong Kong. This is a team who raise their game when they face the USA and we will need to match them physically. As for England, we lost narrowly in that game in Hong Kong having gift-wrapped a 21 point start so accuracy and possession are crucial against them as they have their talisman captain Tom Mitchell back this weekend.”


TO SUM IT UP

Only three rounds remain in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series where the top four teams at the end of the season will automatically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The USA currently holds a world No. 1 ranking and could seal qualification this weekend with a favorable result in Singapore. With the stakes just as high as the opportunity, the chemistry of the playing group and the competition heading into the tournament will make for an intense display of sevens.


MEN’S EAGLES SEVENS ROSTER

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONHSBC TOURNAMENTS TO DATE
1. Carlin IslesWing48
2. Ben PinkelmanPrep/Hooker30
3. Joe SchroederProp7
4. Matai LeutaProp33
5. Brett ThompsonProp30
6. Kevon WilliamsHalfback/Wing18
7. Folau NiuaHalfback66
8. Maceo BrownCenter7
9. Stephen TomasinHooker28
10. Madison Hughes (C)Halfback44
11. Marcus TupuolaWing3
12. Martin IosefoCenter40
12. Ben BroselleWing/Prop2
13. Pat Blair Hooker13

MEN’S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF

Head Coach | Mike Friday
Assistant Coach | Phil Greening
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Jon Hood
Athletic Trainer | Brian Green
Team Manager | Scott Novack

HSBC SINGAPORE SEVENS 2019

Pool C | Broadcast LIVE on ESPN +

vs Wales | Fri, Apr 12 - 11:06 PM ET
vs Kenya | Sat, Apr 13 - 2:34 AM ET
vs England | Sat, Apr 13 - 6 AM ET

VIEW LIVE POOL DRAW FOR UPDATED MATCHUPS 

TOP 5 PLACINGS

(Following HSBC Hong Kong Sevens) 

CategoryPosition
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Standing1st (130 points)
Most Points Scored by a Team3rd (975 points)
Most Tries Scored by a Team3rd (158 tries)
Most Restarts by a Team4th (161 restarts)
Most Points Scored by a Player1st, Madison Hughes (216 points)
2nd, Carlin Isles (205 points)
Most Tries Scored by a Player1st, Carlin Isles (41 tries)
Most Restarts by a Player1st, Folau Niua (125 restarts)

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