The High School All Americans 7s team will soon be going to England for the Rosslyn Park 7s.
The HSAA squad will play in the HSBC National Schools 7s Open Division, which begins play on Thursday March 21.
The American team is in Group C with Kirkham Grammar, London Oratory, Robert Clark School, all from England, and Welsh school Tasker Milward.
The HSAA team is coming off victory at the High School Elite 7s at the Las Vegas Invitational, where they defeated British Columbia in front of 30,000 fans in Sam Boyd Stadium.
“The first half of the HS All American season is 7s, and the second half is 15s,” said Head Coach Salty Thompson. “Sevens is especially useful in developing these players because of the skill development involved. At the club level you might get a wing who doesn’t get involved in contact, but in 7s they get to see the ball and get involved in contact. What [assistant coach] Michael Engelbrecht and I have been seeing over the course of ten years is that the skill level of the players, especially the catch-pass skills, is so much better. We don’t have to teach guys how to pass anymore.”
Thompson said the whole 7s program is a process. He expected some players to track to the national team, but others may bloom late, and all the programs have to work together to help those players develop.
“Guys mature physically and emotionally at different rates,” he said. “But what we do here is bring these guys in, give them a taste, and then expose them to the next level. They see the pathway, they see the direction, and if the senior programs show them where they need to go, they follow on. That’s what we need and that’s what’s happening. The teamwork between all the national programs is as healthy as I’ve seen it.”