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CHULA VISTA, CA. - 14 USA Men's Falcons have been named for the annual Sudamérica Rugby Sevens 2019 taking place in South America this January. The full tournament will consist of two legs beginning with Punta Del Este in Uruguay Jan. 5-6 and followed by Viña del Mar in Chile Jan. 12-13.
Along with the USA, the full tournament will consist of teams from 12 nations including Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Paraguay and Uruguay. In traditional sevens form, pool matches will be played on Day One with knockout rounds on Day Two of each leg.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the top 2 placed South American teams will be invited to the Hong Kong stop of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 with the winner also qualified for the Las Vegas stop. With Argentina already a core team on the Series circuit, the invitation would fall to the next two highest-placed South American teams should they win.
The Falcons roster consists of three players who have been capped in the aforementioned senior World Series including Cody Melphy, Faitala Talapusi and Naima Fuala'au. Fuala'au competed in last year's Sudamérica Sevens along with returning Falcon Ben Broselle.
2018 Youth Olympian Sione "Johnny" Mahe will be joining the group as well, along with 2018 D1A National Champions from Life University Harley Wheeler, Maciu Koroi and Austin White.
As an Olympic qualifying year is well-underway -- and with the United States now ranked first in the World Series standings -- the Men's Sevens program is keen to use this Falcons tour to build depth for the remainder of the season.
The opportunity to advance from the competition is well-displayed by current national team player Nick Boyer who competed at Sudamérica Sevens last year and then went on to make his national team debut at HSBC Hamilton Sevens 2018. Boyer is not on the roster for this year's Sudamérica Sevens having returned to San Diego Legion.
"The Sudamerica 7s affords a great opportunity for this playing group to stake a claim towards Eagles selection. The team's average age of 21.9 is an indication of the continued quality of the domestic competition and the strides made of our age-grade pathway," said Head Coach JD Stephenson. "From the squad selected, over half have came through the Collegiate All-American 7s program, a testament to Coach Steve Lewis's work over the past two years.
"Furthermore 86% of the squad has came through the All American program in one facet or another, showing not only successful identification, but proven development within their daily training environments. I'm honored to be able to coach this exciting and talented group of players and work with a great management team along the way".
Updates for both legs of Sudamérica Rugby Sevens will be available on @USARugby on Twitter. Information on how to follow each match will be provided by host organizers closer to date.
Ben Broselle / Wing / Resident & UCLA
Travion Clark / Wing / Glendale Merlins
Chris Frazier / Prop / Mystic River
Naima Fuala'au / Scrumhalf / Resident
Maciu Koroi / Prop / Life
Johnny Mahe / Flyhalf / Resident
Cody Melphy / Center / Resident
Eric Naposki-Abdalah / Center / UCLA
D'montae Noble / Flyhalf / Kutztown
Thomas Robles / Prop / Unattached
Faitala Talapusi / Flyhalf / Resident
Macus Tupuola / Center / Resident
Harley Wheeler / Hooker / Life
Austin White / Center / Life
Men's Falcons Staff
Head Coach | JD Stephenson
Assistant Coach | Brendan Keane
Strength & Conditioning Coach/Performance Analyst | Justin Goonan
Physiotherapist | Alex Burke