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Mike Friday has made a last-minute change to his lineup for Hong Kong, calling on Nate Ebner in place of Carlin Isles. Isles was originally listed on the 12-man squad and made the trip, while Ebner participated in the first day of Hong Kong 10s with invitational side Samurai. Presumably, Isles is out with injury, but that hasn't been confirmed.
The switch marks Ebner's debutant appearance on the HSBC Sevens World Series just days after his first real rugby action in more than five years. He played Wednesday (Hong Kong time) for Samurai, starting two of three games and scoring a try. More impressive was his workrate and tackling prowess, jostling multiple balls loose in contact.
The change will see Isles miss his second tournament in a row, as he sat out the Vancouver competition for the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships. Originally, Friday anticipated using Ebner as a center or hooker, but he has the speed to cover on the wing, too. Perry Baker will likely get the bulk of time on the wing, and it will be interesting to see if Ebner, Maka Unufe or someone else spells him.