USA Rugby Eagle Sevens Head Coach, Al Caravelli, is calling on experience for the first three legs of the 2011-2012 HSBC Sevens World Series.
After winning a bronze medal for Team USA in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Caravelli has made six changes to the team for the Australia, Dubai, and South Africa legs of the World Series.
“We have Matt Hawkins back from injury, and we have Mark Bokhoven going from strength to strength. We have some veterans returning to the Series, so we have a very good mixture of age and experience,” said Caravelli.
Hawkins, the powerhouse forward and team captain, makes his return to the side after missing time due to injury. The team leader feels healthy and ready to put his stamp on the 2011-2012 World Series.
Hawkins, Bokhoven, Mike Palefau, and Nick Edwards will offer the younger contingent on the squad guidance and leadership in the hopes of bagging some early season points in the Series.
Youngsters Shalom Suniula, Zack Test, and Colin Hawley have over six years of combined Series experience and offer a great deal of speed, elusiveness, and know-how on the sevens field.
Tai Enosa, Palefau, and Miles Craigwell, all of whom played in the Series last season, will join the team after missing out on the Eagles’ Pan Am bronze effort.
Returning to the squad after missing out on the entire 2010-2011 is Nick Edwards who was a series regular before last season, and whose game awareness and pace will be a welcome addition to the team.
Folau Niua was a standout in Guadalajara and has solidified his spot in the USA backline after setting up some stunning tries for his teammates last month in the Pan Ams.
Duncan Kelm, the former All-American and USA Under-20 will have a chance to earn his first international sevens cap, impressing with his fitness and silky skill set.
In September, Coach Caravelli was spoiled for choice at center but with an injury to Paul Emerick before the Pan Ams, an injury to Roland Suniula during the Pan Ams, and Blaine Scully and Mile Pulu picking up injuries during the most recent camp, the once center-rich squad is somewhat depleted. However, the very capable veteran Palefau and a number of utility backs have allowed Caravelli to cope with the substantial hit to the center position.
The USA will face Pool B opponents Australia, South Africa, and Japan in Gold Coast, with the hopes of making the Cup Quarterfinals.
2011 HSBC SEVENS WORLD SERIES SQUAD | GOLD COAST, DUBAI, SOUTH AFRICA
Name (Club; Hometown)
Matt Hawkins (Belmont Shore; San Diego, Calif.)
Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians; Ames, Iowa)
Miles Craigwell (Old Puget Sound Beach; Boston, Mass.)
Shalom Suniula (Belmont Shore; San Diego, Calif.)
Zack Test (At Large; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors; Provo, Utah)
Nick Edwards (Sydney University; San Francisco, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (Chicago Lions; Naperville, Ill.)
Folau Niua (San Francisco Golden Gate; East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore; Long Beach, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (Olympic Club; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Duncan Kelm (Belmont Shore; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Al Caravelli (Head Coach)
Paul Goulding (Video Analyst)
David Williams (Strength and Conditioning Coach)
Dennis Greenhill (Physio)
Joseph Allen (Team Doctor in Australia)
Brian Moss (Team Doctor in Dubai and South Africa)
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