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The USA Men's 7s team gets back in the saddle Friday as they start the Tokyo 7s.
The Eagles will open their tournament at 6:22pm PT Friday, 9:22pm ET against Samoa. They then face Fiji a little under three hours later, and then finally France at 1:30am Saturday PT, 4:30am ET.
Head Coach Matt Hawkins has selected yet another relatively inexperienced team, although he has little choice in the matter as three of his regular players will either be with the USA 15s team or playing pro overseas.
US Army speedster Marcus Satavu will make his IRB debut, while Madison Hughes will play in only his second tournament. Danny Barrett and Mike Te'o will play in their third event, and Garrett Bender and Ryan Matyas their fourth. Only Mike Palefau, Nick Edwards, and Zack Test have played in more than 20 IRB tournaments.
In Wellington, Edwards passed Jovesa Naivalu to take sole possession of 2nd all-time in World Series tries by an American, with 48.
Leading that list is Test, who this weekend will tie Shalom Suniula for most tournaments played in. Test recently passed Jone Naqica for most points ever by a USA player in IRB tournaments. He now has 422 points and 84 tries.
It's easy to forget how enormous those accomplishments are. In his 6th season, Test has been a steady performer, improving to the point of being a major star. Fast enough to play center or wing, and tough enough to play hooker or prop, Test is a completely home-grown athlete who has weathered good and bad, up and down, and is once again crucial to the team's fortunes going forward.
Only 24, Test has plenty more rugby in him.
Meanwhile, Hughes is a big up-and-comer. He scored 33 points in his debut tournament in Wellington, and his pace, sidestep, passing and, most importantly, kicking, has meant that Hawkins did not worry too much about stocking up on goalkickers.
This weekend's tournament will certainly be a contrast of new and old players, but it's worth remembering that even the old (Test) aren't that old.
The Tokyo 7s will be shown live by Universal Sports.