World Cup star Suniula returns to US Sevens
USA men’s Sevens head coach Al Caravelli has announced his 12-man squad to travel to the New Zealand and USA rounds of the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Only three changes have been made to the team that travelled to Australia, Dubai, and South Africa in late 2011 for the first three stops, notably Maka Unufe, a highly recruited former wide receiver from Provo, Utah.
Unufe joins the squad after missing out on the first three legs, but played in three USA Rugby National Championships in 2011 at the Under 19, Men’s Club, and All-Star levels and his performance earned him a place in the 2011 Pan American Games squad where he helped the USA win a Bronze medal.
Roland Suniula returns to the squad after recovering from an injury in the Pan Am Games. Suniula was the first choice fly half for the Eagles in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, showing his versatility in both the 15- and seven-a-side versions of the game.
The third addition to the squad is Andrew Durutalo. Durutalo got a first taste of international Sevens last December after joining the squad in South Africa to provide cover and scored his first international try against Canada.
USA Rugby announced in November 2011 that 15 full-time training contracts would be offered to Sevens athletes, lending momentum to the USA Rugby Sevens programme.
Of the 12 traveling players, seven are full-time residents. The remaining five players are from the taxi squad.
In Wellington, the Eagles will face Pool B opponents South Africa, England, and the Cook Islands.
USA Men’s Eagle Sevens, Wellington and USA Sevens: Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians; Ames, Iowa); Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors; Salt Lake City, Utah); Miles Craigwell (Old Puget Sound Beach; Boston, Mass.); *Shalom Suniula (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.); **Zack Test (USA Rugby; Palo Alto, Calif.); Matt Hawkins (Belmont Shore; San Diego, Calif.); Maka Unufe (USA Rugby; Provo, Utah); Andrew Durutalo (Old Puget Sound Beach; Seattle, Wa.); Folau Niua (USA Rugby; East Palo Alto, Calif.); Peter Tiberio (USA Rugby; Naperville, Ill.); Colin Hawley (USA Rugby; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Roland Suniula (USA Rugby; Boston, Mass.); * Captain ** Vice-captain
- Playoff Winner
- South Africa
- New Zealand