While the Men's 15s are in Europe, the Men's Sevens team is gearing up for the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series. Head Coach Al Caravelli will be running a camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista to narrow down a pool of talented players to only 12 who will travel to Dubai and George, South Africa for the first two stops of the World Series.
The 12 traveling squad players will go to Dubai next week to prepare for the first World Series tournament of the season Caravelli is considering three players on the Eagles' November Tour squad (Colin Hawley, Nese Malifa, Zachary Test) who will not be at the camp.
The Dubai tournament will be a very interesting one to follow. The USA has New Zealand, Argentina, and Zimbabwe in their pool. The Eagles have never gotten a win against Zimbabwe, but Caravelli and the 12 men he selects will look to remedy that and start off the series on the right foot.
The squad has some incredible talent and experience. Sevens veterans such as Mark Bokhoven, Marco Barnard, PJ Komognan, Matthew Hawkins, Zach Pangelinan, Jason Pye, and Roland and Shalom Suniula offer experience, but will have stiff competition from newcomers to the sevens program as well as the sport of rugby.
Crossover athletes James Aldridge (a former Notre Dame tailback), Gerson Blaise, and Miles Craigwell have been brought into the program and have all been working hard to improve their rugby skills. Craigwell, who played football at Brown University, was in impressive form as a crushing tackler at the USA Rugby Emirates Airline All-Star Sevens in New York City in August.
Justin Boyd will attend the camp and it will be his first one since suffering a serious injury last year.
All-Americans Taylor Mokate, Hunter Leland, and Alex Ross are in attendance. Only Mokate will be able to travel as Ross and Leland have academic commitments.
The traveling squad will be released early next week.
Athletes attending camp:
Head Coach: Caravelli, Al
Guest Coach (?): Katoa, Andy
Physio: Blanchflower, Niki
Physio: Higgins, Tim
Videographer: Goulding, Paul