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Mike Friday has chosen to take a 13-man traveling squad to the next two stops of the 7s World Series in Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. It's the second time he's chosen to take 13 on tour this season, perhaps prepping for the Olympics, which will allow for an injury replacement on top of the 12-man roster. Mike Te'o traveled with the Eagles to Dubai and Cape Town but was not selected for either tournament.
Danny Barrett returns to the team from injury, having missed spent the first leg with his arm in a cast. The other newcomer is Ben Pinkelman, who could earn his first-ever cap if selected. Thretton Palamo, who stepped in for Nate Augspurger in Dubai, is also back, meaning two players had to be bumped. They're Garrett Bender and Brett Thompson.
Pinkelman, currently a student at Colorado State, has played at the U20s and All American levels and hones his 7s game with the Denver Barbarians and Denver Elite.
The Eagles are currently tied with Argentina for third-place in the Series standings, but they have a tough draw in Wellington, having been paired with France, England and Samoa.
"I would have taken third place going into Christmas if offered to me at the start of the season," Friday said, "as we knew we would be undercooked going into the first two legs. But with where we were and how things were unfolding, to say I am disappointed that we are not on at least 38 points at this stage is an understatement.
"We are in the 'Group of Death' in Wellington so we need to prepare ourselves to the best of our ability and not expect things to happen, but take control and make them happen."
Men's Eagles Sevens | Travel Squad
Men's Eagles Sevens | HSBC Wellington Sevens
v. Samoa - Friday, Jan. 29 - 5:52 p.m. ET
v. England - Friday, Jan. 29 - 8:54 p.m. ET
v. France - Friday, Jan. 29 - 11:54 p.m. ET