2013 marks the first year of the World Club 7s, to be held this weekend at Twickenham, and the USA was delighted to be granted two of the 12 team spots. Those entries, however, were guaranteed only after USA Rugby agreed to pepper some recognizable names, i.e. 7s Eagles, onto the two American sides, according to New York City 7s manager Bret Costain.
This sentiment is corroborated by USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville’s comments in June about the event:
“[Tournament Organizers] did not want Academies or Academy players and they wanted Eagles…our Club teams would not be strong enough on their own so it’s a hybrid solution."
But as of yesterday afternoon, when the NYC side boarded the plane to London, half of their USA 7s Eagles were absent.
“Three Eagles were no-show for flight to London from San Diego, and USA Rugby has no idea where they are,” Costain informed RugbyMag.com yesterday. USA Rugby promised 16 Eagles … only four at most will make it.”
New York City was slated for six 7s Eagles, per USA Rugby’s press release, but Tai Enosa, Nate Edwards and Sione Taufa did not make the trip, much to the surprise of the NYC 7s team.
“Aviva and Premiership Rugby are going to be pissed off,” Costain said of the World Club 7s sponsors. “They only offered two US teams because 16 Eagles were promised.”
At the time, Costain wasn’t aware whether San Francisco Golden Gate, the other American team competing at the inaugural event, was missing players.
USA 7s Head Coach Matt Hawkins reportedly was trying to find players to sub in, and it’s possible some have been found.
We do know Danny Barrett passed a late fitness test and will accompany the San Francisco team to London.
Stay tuned as details emerge.