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Magleby has long had a good relationship with former USA 7s team coach Al Caravelli, and it would be no surprise to anyone if they still discussed the team. But it’s also clear that Caravelli had some players he liked, and others he had decided not to pick. Magleby will not always make the same determination.
This time, the names that jump out along those lines are Justin Boyd and Duncan Kelm.
Both played for Caravelli, and both had their moments playing for him. Boyd used to be Caravelli’s go-to man on the wing. But after a horrible knee injury, he was out for almost two years. Back on the team he played well, at times, mostly on defense. He also struggled. The relationship seemed to sour somewhat – Boyd felt strongly he had earned and continued to earn more playing time.
Caravelli did not, and eventually left Boyd home in favor of young and faster players.
Kelm is a smart rugby player and a multi-skilled one, but doesn’t have the breakaway pace Caravelli wanted. It seemed like he needed to be taller or stronger or … something … for Caravelli to pick him.
That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. Coach wanted X, and this player gave him Y.
Magleby, apparently, is looking for Y. He probably looks as Kelm and sees, potentially, another Colin Hawley. They don’t seem all that different as players, really, and after working through some injuries Kelm, like a lot of players, had a decision to make – work your butt off to get back there, or give up. Kelm didn’t give up.
Boyd has also been working. He is maybe not as fast as he once was, but remember that even after he came back from his knee injury, and even after he was deemed fit enough to play for the USA, that doesn’t mean he was all the way back. After tearing you ACL, you’re understandably cautious about drastic changes in direction. What if you tear your ACL, PCL, and both MCLs? It might take you a little while to really fine-tune your cuts.
Boyd has continued to play, for Tiger Rugby, SoCal, and he has changed his game somewhat. Magleby sees a smart, experienced player who can defend, is more physical than he used to be, and has been in the arena.
Four more names to discuss:
Miles Craigwell. He just needs time, and the best thing for him (and many feel this way about crossovers) if for him to log minutes on a rugby field. This is where 15s can help in 7s. Craigwell playing 40 to 80 minutes for Old Puget Sound Beach in the Super League means he gets more minutes in one afternoon than he does in a month of international 7s.
That’s where he can best develop.
Nick Edwards. I think we haven’t seen the best of Edwards in some time. His injuries have really hurt him. I certainly hope we haven’t seen the best of him, because he hasn’t played all that superbly so far this season. If he’s fully healthy and in camp, he could make an enormous impact.
Marcus Satavu. This is the first serious step in the process of attracting military athletes to the Olympic 7s team. Military athletes in Olympic sports get support, and the military has an awful lot of good rugby players. Satavu was a central figure for US Air Force team that won the Armed Forces Championship in November. The Senior Airman out of Panama is just the first who could be brought into the USA 7s Rugby fold through their World Class Athlete Program. Don’t expect him to push his way onto the team just yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how he does.
Maka Unufe. Not out of favor. He has some personal family issues to take
Magleby has invited only 14 players to camp, which says either he doesn’t see a lot of depth in the national pool right now (likely), and is also satisfied, for the most part, with the guys he has (also likely). No need to make wholesale changes here. That won’t help the team win, it won’t change the team’s fortunes that much, and won’t put Magleby in a position to keep his job when it comes up for bid.
USA 7s Team Camp Invitees
Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins; Dallas, Texas; also Tiger Rugby)
Andrew Durutalo (Old Puget Sound Beach; Seattle, Wash.)
Nick Edwards (Sydney University; Sydney, Australia)
Tai Enosa (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (USA Rugby; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Duncan Kelm (Unattached; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Rocco Mauer (USA Rugby; Cleveland, Ohio)
Mike Palefau (Old Puget Sound Beach; Salt Lake City, Utah)
Folau Niua (USA Rugby; East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Nu’u Punimata (USA Rugby; Seattle, Wa.)
Marcus Satavu (Air Force Rugby/Panama City Beach Hurricanes; Panama City, Fl.)
Shalom Suniula (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.)
Zack Test (USA Rugby; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (USA Rugby; Naperville, Ill.)