USA Sevens bring in two

Date published: March 17 2015

Mike Friday has brought in a couple of faces old and new to his USA Sevens squad for the Hong Kong Sevens.

Mataiyasi Leuta is set to make his Eagles debut after replacing Martin Iosefo in the squad, while Nate Augspurger returns to the squad for the first time in more than two years.

"Matai’s physical transformation has been simply unbelievable and testament to the guidance by Chris [Brown] and the work ethic of Matai, who’s come so far in these last two months," said Friday. 

"He has also worked hard on his tactical and technical aspects and, whilst he is still raw in some areas, he is a beast of a man with an x-factor whether deployed on the wing or at prop.

"Nate has earned his recall and has been outstanding all week after impressing in Las Vegas for New York. He is a clever attacking player and, although small in stature, very aggressive and tenacious in defense in both action and communication."

The Eagles head to Hong Kong, the next stop on the World Rugby Sevens Series, in seventh place in the overall standings after continuing their recent good form with a fourth-place finish on home soil in Las Vegas.

USA have been drawn in Pool D with fifth-placed England and Wales and Kenya, who are currently in 11th and 12th respectively.

With just six series places covering the sides, Friday knows the Eagles will have their work cut out in reaching the Cup knockout stages for the fourth tournament in a row.

"We are under no illusions how hard a group we find ourselves in at Hong Kong with England as well as the resurgent Kenya and a dangerous Wales team," Friday added. 

"Whilst we recognise we have the ability and capability to do well, we recognise we need to play with a relentless desire, remain grounded, and play with accuracy to our potential.

"We want to be in that Cup competition come day three competing with the best teams."

USA squad: Nate Augspurger, Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Andrew Durutalo, Nic Edwards, Madison Hughes (c), Carlin Isles, Mataiyasi Leuta, Folau Niua, Zack Test, Maka Unufe.