Zack Test has made the 36- man USA squad to play Canada and Japan, but the young wing has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to make the World Cup squad.
Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan will likely take 14 backs to the World Cup, including two scrumhalves, one dedicated flyhalf and five centers (of which at least one can slot in at #10). That leaves six spots for wings, fullbacks, and utility backs.
“My focus right now is getting into that 30-man squad,” said Test, who played for the USA U20s and has emerged as one of the better players on the USA 7s team. “I have not been playing this summer. Instead I have been training and getting myself in the best condition.”
Test has been working with a conditioning coach in Santa Clara, Calif., and will join several other players in Denver to work with USA Rugby Strength and Conditioning coach Dave Williams. He knows he is under scrutiny from O’Sullivan, who wants to see more from Test.
But also in the back of his mind is 7s. Test has been a regular on the USA team, and following the 15s World Cup, there’s the little matter of the Pan-Am Games.
“We know we can definitely get to the medal round,” said Test. “And we’re capable of beating Argentina and Canada and winning the gold. That’s our focus.”
To do that, the USA will have to perform markedly better than they did in London and Edinburgh at the end of the 2010-2011 IRB season. The players know that, said Test.
“We haven’t talked as a collective group, but we’ve talked with Coach Caravelli about it all,” Test said. “We have reviewed film, from the season, we know the mistakes we made and learned from them. I think if we can clean up some little technical things we can be a top-five team.”