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The young players are making an impression with USA 7s Head Coach Al Caravelli.
Among them, Colin Hawley, still working to break in as a starter, had a strong outing as a prop against Scotland in the final match in Wellington. It was Hawley’s first full 14 minutes at the position, and while he had a few mistakes, said the coach, he put in a lot of work and was one of the USA bright spots.
Following Hawley, two players new to the World Series, Garrett Bender and Maka Unufe both showed some good moments. Both made mistakes also – trying to do too much chief among them.
“But you have to remember, this is their first taste of the IRB circuit,” said Caravelli. “When [South African star] Cecil Afrika first came on the scene he wasn’t anything special, but after some time he became this phenomenal player. Maka has the ability, but he really didn’t get the ball in space. He was run out of bounds one time and that’s something he has to learn – more than anything, stay in bounds.”
Caravelli has brought in a bunch of players to camp who weren’t in Wellington. They are all competing for a place on the team, and the roster for Las Vegas could well be very different.
Look for Matt Hawkins, now well after a bout with the flu, to get a spot back. Look also for Tai Enosa to possible make an entrance. It’s unclear how healthy Blaine Scully is, but his versatility – big and strong enough to be a forward, quick enough to be a back – would be very useful.