Monday, February 01, 2010

Al Acaravelli Names His Side for Wellington NZI Sevens

The USA Sevens is just over a week away and everyone, but before the Eagles make their debue on home soil in Las Vegas Nevada, they have to make a trip to Wellington New Zealand for the third leg of the IRB Sevens World Series. Our good friends over at caught up with Al Caravelli head coach of the USA Sevens team as he named his squad for the third leg of the IRB Sevens tour.

Coach Al Caravelli has announced his 12-man USA squad for the third leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, Wellington's NZI Sevens, which starts on Friday (5-6 Feb).

The USA will hope to benefit from some of their best preparation for an IRB leg, which has seen them participate at the Suva Rugby Festival followed by training and practice matches with Fiji.

Kevin Swiryn, who missed the first two legs of the season, returns to the squad has captain and will look to rediscover the form that secured him 23 tries last season.

Injury returnee Marco Barnard is also included and with 12 IRB tournaments under his belt is the most experienced player on the squad.

Returning from Dubai and George is the team’s leading try-scorer Nick Edwards along with Ata Malifa, Mile Pulu, Shalom Suniula, Leonard Peters.

Zach Test, Nese Malifa, and Mark Bokhoven are all included in a strong looking squad. The rest of the side are all capped but are set to make their first appearances of the season. Marco Barnard last played in Scotland last year and Paul Emerick, who last played in San Diego and Wellington last year.

Time in Fiji beneficial

“It was different having the camp in Fiji but it was excellent preparation for the next leg of the series in Wellington and our home tournament at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas. We all believe this was an excellent foundation for not only this leg but for the rest of the series,” said Caravelli.

“With the level of competition we experienced in the tournament and the scrimmages with Fiji it put us under pressure not only from the competition but from the elements, the heat, humidity and unfamiliar surroundings. It indentified our strengths and short comings. All the athletes are stronger for it. ”

Caravelli had originally taken 15 players to Fiji for the Suva tournament but can only take 12 players to Wellington. Olympic hurdler Benny Brazzell, Trevor Richards, and Dimitri Efthimiou were all sent back home.

“I was very impressed with the 15 man squad we brought. They all showed a level of professionalism and maturity that we need to be successful. We will continue to get better. All 15 will be invited back to our next camp. Hopefully the athletes and staff will be able to juggle their schedules so we can stay consistent.”

Caravelli also spoke highly of Brazzell, who also possesses NFL experience with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“With a bit more experience, possibly by next camp I can see him wearing an Eagle jersey very soon,” added the coach.

USA will meet England, Kenya and Tonga on day 1 in Wellington’s Westpac Stadium. The side will then travel to their home tournament, the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, a week later facing South Africa, Fiji, and Canada in the qualifying stages.

USA Squad for Wellington and Las Vegas:

Kevin Swiryn (Old Puget Sound Beach) Captain, Marco Barnard (Kutztown University), Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians), Nick Edwards (NYAC), Paul Emerick (Overmach Parma), Matt Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Ata Malifa (Belmont Shore), Nese Malifa (Belmont Shore), Leonard Peters (Aspen), Mile Pulu (SFGG), Shalom Suniula (Pearl City), Zack Test (Loughborough Students)


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