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Atlantis, the baby of American 7s’ great uncle Emil Signes, is just one of the teams he could use, but in many ways the most logical. The touring side has been a testing ground for aspiring Eagles for decades. We’ve also seen potential Eagles get a boost from the Pacific Coast Grizzlies, Chicago Lions, Tiger Rugby, and others.

The lineup that Magleby, Tony Pacheco, Signes, and John Tyler have put together for Atlantis is outstanding, and packed with potential.

Up front Brett Thompson was a leading try-scorer in the USA 7s CRC. He has chosen rugby over football, and has enormous potential with size and mobility. Marcus Satavu is a player who got a look with the USA team, and is one of those players with plenty of upside, if he gets a chance to play. Jack Halalilo is a powerful, speedy player who can play just about anywhere.

Brett Willis is another football player/rugby player with power in his step.

And Ryan Roundy may be “only” six feet as a forward, but he is enormously strong and has superb acceleration. He is at his best when he sees a gap and just takes it. This could be a big opportunity for Roundy.

Don Pati is a really, really good 15s scrumhalf. As a 7s player he is virtually unstoppable. He can play scrumhalf or flyhalf or center (and probably hooker if you gave him a week). With Tyler Harrison and Shaun Davies also multi-skilled, speedy, and tough-tackling halfbacks, Signes has plenty of versatility, and we haven’t even looked at Peceli Rinakama, who is another playmaker.

Out wide, well there’s a lot of pace. Matty Harris and Carlin Isles are both exceedingly fast, if green. Maka Unufe has a special role in this team in that he has already played on the IRB circuit, and is probably the biggest fast guy there. Unufe could play in the forwards, especially if he adds a few pounds, and if he emerges as a potential forward, with his pace and his skill set, he could be enormously useful internationally.

This is a young team, and one that will need the gentle, but firm, hand of a set of experienced coaches. But it’s also a team of players who seriously project to the national team (at least potentially). It’s pleasing to see them get some competition.

The Victoria International 7s will be a tough tournament. The defending champs are the Maple Leafs, with several Canadian national team players. Serevi Rugby will take a side, which will likely feature some highly-talented players not used by Old Puget Sound’s national qualifier side (meaning the Serevi squad will be foreigner-heavy). The military selects side will hope to build on its success at the Best of the West, while the Cayman Islands national team, and several other high-quality reps sides will play, also.

This is a good first step for the USA program in fielding a development side.

Signed is thrilled.

"Atlantis is very excited to partner with USA Rugby and be able to help young promising players in their effort to climb up the ladder that leads to the USA National Sevens Team,” Signes told RUGBYMag.com. “We are also thrilled to have an opportunity to participate in an event as tough as the Victoria Sevens, which will surely be a test.  The plan for this team is to develop players for the future and give everyone a chance to play.  We will of course strive to combine this with success on the field.”