Men’s Eagle Sevens Team Faces Challenge at Hertz Sevens in New Zealand
The @Link("[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((678174541))", "Internal", "URI", "Men’s Eagle Sevens", " lo_id="678174541||679658681" lo_value="[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Links\\Content\\579063656\\23181D59-1351-5FFD-54CB-411D7E8FE846\\23181D59-1351-6023-6034-2BD82C074327" lo_namepath="[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((678174541))" lo_type="Internal" lo_datatype="URI"") squad has been set for the Hertz Sevens in New Zealand and the team is welcomed from their two-month hiatus by a strong pool. The Eagles will compete in Pool B, which is comprised of HSBC Series #3 South Africa, Series #4 England, as well as Cook Islands, who are making their first appearance of the 2011/2012 @Link("[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((571820224))", "External", "URI", "HSBC Sevens World Series", " lo_id="571820224||679658681" lo_value="[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Links\\Content\\23181D59-1321-B577-9CEA-E559FA226244\\21D94194-12B8-CF0F-3EC2-84C07EC3C032\\20907F3F-12A0-8651-AC48-42835F47A346" lo_namepath="[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((571820224))" lo_type="External" lo_datatype="URI""). The Eagles currently sit in 11th place in the Series with 17 points. In order for the Eagles to crack the top ten in total Series points they must pass Scotland who sits at 10th, with 23 Series points.
In order for the Eagles to claim sufficient points to break into the top ten they must avenge three earlier Series losses. In Australia at the Gold Coast Sevens the Eagles fell to South Africa 17-12, a tough loss, yet promising nonetheless. At their second meeting at the Dubai Rugby Sevens, South Africa came away with a 36-7 victory, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of the Eagles. South Africa is led in tries scored by Series #14 Chris Dry (9), Bernado Botha (8), and Steven Hunt (8). The Springboks are led in points scored by Series #18 Branco du Preez (59) and Series #23 Mark Richards (55). The Springboks are the only team in the top four of the Series (48 points) to have not won a tournament, proving they have competed very well in the first three and are a dangerous team.
At the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, the Eagles lost to England 26-7 in pool play and are meeting them for the first time since. In order for the Eagles to defeat England they must slow down #3 Series try scorer Mat Turner who has 15 tries in three tournaments. Turner also sits at #5 in total points scored for the series with 75. England boasts a second offensive threat in Dan Norton, who is the #12 try scorer on the Series (12) and #11 in total points scored (66). Also not to be ignored is Marcus Watson of England who is #17 on the Series in Total Points scored (59). The above three offensive threats have significant pace that has helped carry England to their fourth place Series position with 47 points earned.
Gold Coast Sevens, Australia
Through the first three legs of the Series the Eagles have seen a different man step up each tournament. In Australia the Eagles were led in points scored by Folau Niua (19), who did so with one try and seven conversions. Over five games there were five players who scored two total tries: Colin Hawley, Shalom Suniula, Mike Palefau, Zack Test, and Nick Edwards. The Eagles finished the tournament 2-3 with losses to South Africa, Australia, and Scotland in the Bowl semifnals and with wins over Japan and Papua New Guinea.
Dubai Rugby Sevens
At the second Series stop in Dubai Mike Palefau emerged as the top offensive player for the Eagles with 20 points on four tries in the five matches played. The team’s struggles on the first day brought losses to Portugal, South Africa, and New Zealand which put them in the Bowl quarters where they defeated Zimbabwe (41-7), then Canada (33-17) in the semi’s, where they were put through to the Bowl finals where they lost to Scotland, finishing the tournament 2-4.
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, South Africa
In South Africa the Eagles came out on Day 1 with a loss to England, a 21-14 victory over Argentina followed by a narrow 12-14 loss to 2009-2010 HSBC Sevens Series Champions, Samoa. Day two started great with a 26-0 win over Zimbabwe in the Bowl Quarters that thrust them into a North America showdown with Canada in the Bowl Semis. The Canadians defeated the Eagles 22-12 and thwarted their third straight attempt at a Bowl title. The Eagles finished the tournament 2-3 and were led in scoring by Zack Test with 15 points on three tries.
At the Hertz Sevens in New Zealand on February 3-4 the Eagles begin pool play against South Africa at 5:00 p.m. MT, then play England at 8:18 p.m. MT, and finish the day against Cook Islands at 10:54 p.m. MT.
To view the full Eagles traveling roster click here.