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The USA men’s 7s is set to open up their 2013-2014 season when they play Argentina in the first match of the Fiji Water International Centennial 7s in Suva, Fiji on Friday (local time, 5pm PT, 8pm ET Thursday for us in the USA).
New Head Coach Matt Hawkins said the team is “settling in slowly,” and he ran the squad through their last session.
The Eagles will likely use this difficult tournament (Argentina, Fiji Wanderers, France, and Fiji Barbarians) to not only get their systems right for the Gold Coast 7s a week later, but to also test out the newer players on the team.
“Steve Tomasin is a pretty exciting, versatile player,” USA star Zack Test told RUGBYMag.com. “I know it’s been said a lot that he’s like Marco Barnard, but he is. He’s very cool and calm on the pitch and a strong runner, good in contact. Ryan Matyas is a good, hard runner with a lot of skills, and I’m excited to see what he can do. Pat Blair you can count on to win the contact area. He’s going to do his job and fill his role for the team – not flashy but will be there.”
In addition, there are some players perhaps looking to break out a bit more. Carlin Isles is known throughout the World Series circuit, but he’s not been a starter on the team.
“I don’t know if we’ll see more of him, but we’d all like to see him on the pitch more,” said Test. “He is training well and I still can’t believe how fast he is.”
Miles Craigwell comes onto the squad after a long time away. He is a much more experienced player, physically stronger, and more versatile. How he slots in will be of interest.
Hawkins may have to experiment to find the right man at center, as many of his backs are either halfbacks or finishers. Matyas could well be that guy, despite being a rookie, but we might also see Nick Edwards and Carlin Isles line up together.
Click here for the Fiji 7s schedule.