USA 7s Head Coach Alex Magleby takes a relatively young, but very versatile team to Gold Coast this week.
Magleby has brought back former USA 7s team captain Matt Hawkins, and his experience, and especially his ability to win scrums, will be most welcome. Hawkins and Mike Palefau are the two oldest players on the team. Palefau, 31, is the leader by example, the analytical one, doesn’t yell a lot but he leads by example. Hawkins, 29, is ready to fire up the forwards and be a mentor to the younger players.
Next on the list of age is Peter Dahl, who has never played for the USA 7s team, but has been in many a camp. Injuries derailed what should have been a busy four years of international rugby. At 27 he is a 7s World Series rookie, but one who has been around.
It’s easy to forget that the rest of the team is still very young. Despite being the all-time leader in World Series tries for the USA, Zack Test is still only 23. Captain Shalom Suniula, who has been playing with the team since 2008, is only 24.
Luke Hume is another World Series rookie, but his experience on pro 7s teams and in the Super League, as well as his looks, make people think he’s older than he is. Hume is only 24. Tai Enosa has been in the USA mix since 2009 – he’s 23. Add to that Maka Unufe (21), Brett Thompson (22), Carlin Isles (22), Rocco Mauer(24), and Mike Te’o (19) and you’ve got a very young core of players.
The average age is 24. Take out Hawkins and Palefau, and the remaining ten average 23.
A few more notes on this 7s team:
Of the 12 players, the number who …
Learned his rugby overseas: 4
Players age-grade rugby in the USA: 6
Were All Americans: 4
Are 6-2 or taller: 5 (tallest Brett Thompson at 6-4)
Are 5-9 or shorter: 5 (Isles, Suniula, and Te’o are all 5-8)
Played at some point for Belmont Shore: 5 (Dahl, Enosa, Hawkins, Suniula, Te’o)