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USA 7s Head Coach Al Caravelli has slotted in Matt Hawkins in favor of Mark Bokhoven for this weekend’s USA 7s.
The move is in part a reaction to Bokhoven’s form, but it’s also because Hawkins is finally 100%. After battling injuries and, most recently, the flu, the Polar Bear is in from the cold.
“Matt had a great training camp,” Caravelli told RUGBYMag.com. “This is the best I’ve seen Matt since 2007. He is injury free, which I think is a big thing. He’s been playing the last two years always with an injury, and he’s finally healthy and has been training great.”
Hawkins looked great to observers, too. He is a little leaner, and looked more agile. The Eagles will hope that translates to some physicality and agility in the forward position.
“He’s very, very excited,” said Caravelli. “He really wanted this tournament and it shows in everything he’s doing.”
The Eagles play Canada at 4:22pm Friday. That’s a crucial game. If they win that one, then win or lose against Fiji, they play Saturday morning with a win and get in the Cup Quarterfinals against rivals Argentina.
The USA is, on paper, a much better team than last week’s 0-5 effort. Those close to the team say they had a rewarding, intense week of practice, and are highly motivated to play well in front of their home crowd.
Notes: Zack Test and Matt Hawkins are tied with 43 tries in HSBC Sevens World Series action. Both are four behind Jovesa Naivalu for the most for the USA team.