SPORTS

No Point In Leading If We Can’t Win Tournament, Says USA Coach

World Rugby Sevens Series points leaders USA has named a strong team to travel squad to the Hamil­ton 7s in New Zealand next weekend. Head coach Mike Friday confirmed the
17 Jan 2019 10:53
No Point In Leading If We Can’t Win Tournament, Says USA Coach
USA 7s head coach Mike Friday delivers his halftime pep talk during the World Sevens Series. Photo: World Rugby

World Rugby Sevens Series points leaders USA has named a strong team to travel squad to the Hamil­ton 7s in New Zealand next weekend.

Head coach Mike Friday confirmed the team as the Eagles lead the series after finishing second in the first two tourna­ments of the 2018/19 series.

Friday said, however, that the team remembers lost oppor­tunities in both finals, and while being first overall is nice, not winning either tournament does rankle.

“We know we can take nothing for granted and whilst we are pleased to be sitting number one currently it means very little in the grand scheme of things as we have a tough eight legs ahead and everyone will be coming for us,” warned Fri­day.

“We need to stay focused, show humility and work hard on our own game individually and collectively as we lost two finals due to mistakes which were more than avoidable,” Fri­day told USA Rugby.

“We still have much to prove to ourselves when we take the field in Hamilton in what is a very physical and difficult group.”

Friday has named a squad of 13 players, with the final 12 to be confirmed before the tournament starts. Ben Pinkelman continues to be a huge asset to the team, and he and Danny Barrett have formed a formidable partnership.

The other regulars – Perry Baker, Madison Hughes, Folau Niua, Carlin Isles, Stephen Tomasin, Martin Iosefo, and Kev­on Williams – are back. Maceo Brown, who has just broken into the team and Brett Thompson, who everyone hopes can stay healthy and thus contribute, are also in the group of 13.

Friday is now looking at a seven-week stretch with four cru­cial tournaments, after a long break.

“The holiday break from a rugby perspective probably came at the wrong time with the momentum we had,

“But that is the nature of the beast and we knew that was coming.

“The boys enjoyed the holidays and we have been back to work these last two weeks picking up where we left off and getting back into the rhythm of training and preparing for these notoriously tough two legs.”

– Edited by Grace Narayan

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