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Maybe, maybe not says USA 7s Heac Coach Al Caravelli.
“The whole level of play is going up,” said Caravelli. “But the fitness level is disappointing. Guys have got to pick it up if they want to play for the national team.”
Caravelli said players have no one to look at but themselves when it comes to fitness.
“The more fit players are, the more time we can spend in camp working on skills and pattern of play,” he told RUGBYMag.com.
Caravelli will be at the National Championships, but he has also been scouting tournaments and select-side tryouts throughout the country.
“This is the first time we’ve had those sorts of open tryouts,” said Caravelli. “We’re getting feedback and I think we’ll make adjustments in the coming years. But if we get one guy from each of those tryouts, then we can say it’s a huge success.”
Caravelli is looking into finding more ways to see players, especially at the National All-Star Championships. He has been in contact with territorial coaches, making it clear that the national team requirements for the Pan-Am Games are different than for the IRB World Series (specifically, three years of residency doesn’t count).
TU coaches have not been told to pick only Pan-Am-eligible players, but it’s clear that’s what Caravelli wants, and the coaches, said Caravelli, have been very helpful.
But before the NASC, there’s the little matter of the club nationals, a tournament that put Nu’u Punimata and Miles Craigwell on the map last summer. This year, who knows? Whoever it is, he better be fit.