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Shalom Suniula has resumed residency at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The former captain was one of the original contracted players when the residency program began back in 2011, but he left during the transition from the Alex Magleby era to that of Matt Hawkins.
Since then, he has been primarily camped in Seattle, working with Atavus and playing for the Saracens. He shifted his international focus to 15s, earning 16 caps, eight starts and a trip to the most recent Rugby World Cup with the Eagles.
Despite a two-and-a-half year absence from the 7s team, Suniula is among its most experienced players. He ranks sixth all-time in World Series points for the USA and third in caps. Of his current teammates, only Zach Test, Carlin Isles and Madison Hughes have scored more points, and only Test has appeared in more games.
Suniula adds depth, and maybe a little gray hair, to a young and talented pool of halfbacks already entrenched in the team. Hughes, 23, is the captain and go-to scrumhalf, and Nate Augspurger has become his trusted backup. Peter Tiberio, another Seattle Saracens man who’s returned to the OTC, has played halfback before, too.
Suniula made the move and participated in the high performance camp prior to the Wellington and Sydney tournaments, so barring injury, he should be available to coach Mike Friday for the upcoming stretch in Las Vegas and Vancouver.