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Head Coach Mike Friday has selected a strong 13-man squad for the Silicon Valley 7s Saturday and Sunday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The side is very experienced, with just two uncapped players getting a call up.
Veteran forward Ben Pinkelman will captain the side that’s loaded for bear. He’s joined by HSBC Sevens World Series regulars Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Matai Leuta, Stephen Tomasin and Martin Iosefo. Kevon Williams is returning to the team for the first time since suffering a season-ending injury last year.
"We are under no illusion how tough a tournament like this will be. With the quality of countries that are attending it will provide exactly the test we need," Friday said in a press release.
"We have had a good week's preparation so far, which has been very intense for the squad as well as competitive. This is an experienced squad with a sprinkling of new players who have performed well this pre-season and earned an opportunity to play."
Malon Al-Jiboori is entering his second season as a full-time resident within the program, and he’ll be hoping to earn Friday’s attention this weekend. Anthony Welmers is capped, but he’s also failed to garner regular selection for the World Series.
Returning to the team after a long hiatus is Ryan Matyas. The former Arizona star earned his first international 7s cap during the 2012/2013 season, but he has never played under Friday, who enters his fourth season at the helm. Matyas has been selected by the 15s team in that time, but it appears he’s back in the 7s pool, too.
The two uncapped players are Chris Mattina and Joe Schroeder. Mattina has been a known commodity in the rugby scene for some time, having won a national title with famed Xavier High School (NY) and starred at Delaware. He’s now playing 15s for New York Athletic Club.
Schroeder also won a national title in high school, playing for Cathedral Royal Irish (IN) before turning to cheerleading in college. He’s now playing rugby again in Columbus, Ohio. At 6’5”, he is an intriguing prospect.
Regular 7s captain Madison Hughes was tabbed as the 13th man for the tournament, indicating he may not be used unless there’s injury. Expect to see Tomasin and Williams spend time filling his normal role at scrumhalf.
USA Rugby Men's Sevens | Pool C Schedule | Saturday, November 4th, 2017
United States v Tonga - 12:50pmPT
New Zealand v United States - 4:28pmPT
United States v Chile - 8:00pmPT
USA Rugby Men's Sevens | Silicon Valley Sevens
1. Malon Al-Jiboori
2. Ben Pinkelman (C)
3. Joe Schroeder
4. Matai Leuta
5. Ryan Matyas
6. Anthony Welmers
7. Folau Niua
8. Maka Unufe Jr.
9. Stephen Tomasin
10. Chris Mattina
11. Kevon Williams
12. Martin Iosefo
13. Madison Hughes
USA Rugby Men's Sevens | Silicon Valley Staff
Mike Friday - Head Coach
Chris Brown- Assistant Coach
Brian Green- Physio
Paul Goulding- Team Analyst
Sarah Sall - Team Manager