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Head coach Mike Friday opted to name a 15-man traveling squad for the Asian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series Tuesday, in lieu of the normal 12-man squad with a 13th player in case of injury. The team now has additional depth to make final roster selections the week of competition. Currently in the Top five of eight statistical categories this season, the Eagles have shown their resilience.
The roster is highlighted by the return of Stephen Tomasin and Maka Unufe. Tomasin, who suffered a knee injury in Sydney, has been forced to sit out the past three tournaments, unable to build on his 48 total points this season. Unufe, who suffered a bruised thigh in Las Vegas, was unable to suit up for Canada Sevens and grow his 42 total points this season.
"It's great to have Steve and Maka back to bring further strength, experience and attacking firepower into the team," said Friday. "Both players are hugely versatile, balancing the extended traveling squad. With a few minor injury concerns, we will make a final decision the week of the tournament."
As an addition to the increased depth of the group, Pat Blair and newcomer Cody Melphy will also travel with the crew. Melphy, who made his HSBC Series debut at USA Sevens, has the chance to earn his first try in senior competition; while Blair, who has over 10 tournaments under his belt, may make his first Series appearance this year.
In the absence of many regular faces, remaining squad members have continued to step up. Among them are Kevon Williams and Malon Al-Jiboori who both made their Series debuts this season. Jiboori, who was recently capped in XVs during the 2018 Americas Rugby Championship, scored his first two Sevens series tries at Canada Sevens, alongside Williams who hit his season high of 3 tries in Vancouver, as well.
Men's Eagles Sevens Traveling Roster
Ben Pinkelman (C)
LIVE on ESPN3
vs. France | Fri, Apr. 6 - 6:24 AM ET
vs. Wales | Fri, Apr. 6 - 11:38 PM ET
vs. Argentina | Sat, Apr. 7 - 3:38 AM ET