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“I know I was going to be stepping up to the plate in some way and I think it’s an incredible honor,” Suniula told “A lot of guys can be shy to speak up – it’s intimidating for a new player to speak up with whoever the head coach is. I think I am easy to talk to and then I can help them communicate with Al [Caravelli]. It helps bring the team together.”

Communication is key, said Suniula.

“Sevens is a game where everyone needs to be on the same page. If you’re not on the same page that’s where things can go wrong. All you need is one miscommunication, one hole, one gap, that’s where it all goes wrong.”

Training has been “good and hard,” said Suniula. “It’s been one of the better camps and American can expect great things are Pan-Ams.”

Right, the Pan-Am Games. Being in an Olympic-style multi-sport event means a lot to all the players. They know this is the first step on the road back to the Olympics – the chance for the USA to defense their 1924 Gold Medal.

“It’s exciting. We don’t know what to expect,” said the scrumhald. “The word on the street is that it will be super exciting. To be among other sports at the same time – not just rugby, rugby, rugby. It’s a glimpse of what the Olympics will be like.”

Already the USA players and coaches have been scouting and preparing for their opponents in pool play – Chile, Canada and Brazil.

(They play Chile at 11am Oct 29, Central Time, then Brazil at 1:10 pm, and then Canada at 3:15)

Suniula says the team expects to win these games.

“We can’t afford to play down to their level. We need to play against them the way we play against South Afirca, New Zealand, or Fiji. We give them respect if we beat them by 50 and don’t let off the gas. The boys know if they play the way they’re supposed to, the results will come.

“It’s all about attitude.”