This is an important opportunity for some talented USA Falcons athletes to play their way into the current World Series tour.

USA Falcons travel to Argentina to build depth World Rugby Sevens World Series squad.

rugby usa falcons logoVia usarugby.org  CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The USA Falcons, the emerging-elite side of the Men’s Eagles Sevens program, will enter the 2015 CONSUR South American Sevens Tour to build depth and experience for Mike Friday’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series squad.

The Tour will also provide a coaching opportunity for former Eagle, Nese Malifa…

Malifa, certified as a Level 200 USA Rugby coach and referee, will lead the 12-man team at Sevens de Mar del Plata and Sevens de Viña del Mar in Argentina and Chile. Malifa retired following successes as a player for the Falcons as they won the 2014 Serevi RugbyTown Sevens tournament in Glendale, Colorado, last August, and participated in two of the four Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camps at the Olympic Training Center.

Malifa, intimate with the current Eagles program and the demands of the World Sevens Series, will have the able support of assistant coach Paul Goulding and former national sevens head coach Al Caravelli as technical advisor.

“It’s good to see that we are able to provide coaching opportunities to Nese as we look to create a pathway and develop the coaching resource and expertise,” Friday said.

Capped Eagles Pat Blair, Zack Pangelinan, Pila Taufa, Mike Te’o, and Stephen Tomasin will each don a USA Falcons jersey against the likes of Argentina, Canada, Uruguay, and select representative sides in the eight-team tournaments. Will Holder and Ben Leatigaga make up the World-Class Athlete Program contingent.

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Tomasin, who scored six tries in four legs of the 2013-14 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series before falling out of action to an injury at the fourth stop in Las Vegas, is finally returning to the pitch on the international stage following a long road to recovery at the OTC.

“This is an important opportunity for some talented athletes to play their way into Coach Friday’s squad for the important Sevens World Series tour ahead,” USA Rugby National Sevens Director Alex Magleby said. “Ben, Will, Pat, Pila, and Mikey are expected to have break-out performances. They’re each athletic and quality footballers; consistently doing their jobs this trip will be exciting to see.”

This Tour will give all a real opportunity to put their hand up for the forthcoming roster to New Zealand (Wellington Sevens) and Vegas (USA Sevens)…

“I am expecting the players to make it very difficult for me to pick the final roster as the boys will return straight from competition and straight into the High Performance Camp,” USA Falcons Coach Friday said.

Glen Thommes of Schuykill River was a representative of the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Sevens at both the 2013 and 2014 Serevi RugbyTown Sevens and continues to move through the High Performance Pathway with a selection to the Falcons. He will be joined by fellow MCAA representative Colton Cariaga, graduate of Life University, on tour.

Previous High Performance Camp invitees Kingsley McGowan and Aladdin Schirmer, the latter of whom played with the Eagles in Dubai and South Africa last month, were unavailable for Tour selections due to studies at Saint Mary’s College and Central Washington University, respectively.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how Glen continues to progress,” Magleby said.

“He has methodically worked his way up the collegiate ranks, combining those efforts with quality performances in the men’s club sevens game in the summers, as well as continuing to execute with Atlantis under coach Chris Ryan in club-plus tournaments domestically and abroad. Colton is another with similar experiences via the Collegiate All-Americans and Life University.”

The Falcons will leave for Argentina Jan. 5, where Sevens de Mar del Plata runs Jan. 10-11. The team will face Argentina, Tucuman, and Mar del Plata in pool play. Canada, Uruguay, Buenos Aires and an Invitational sevens side will comprise the other pool. Following Sevens de Viña del Mar Jan. 17-18, the athletes will be integrated with recovery into the in-progress High Performance Camp at the Olympic Training Center, which will be held Jan. 18-24.

The Eagles sit ninth in the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series standings after three legs, with a Gold Coast Sevens Bowl and Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Plate in the trophy cabinet. With the next two-week portion of the Series set for New Zealand and the United States, the Eagles must aim for more hardware in hopes of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

“This is an important year for us and we still have so much to do and improve if we want to become genuine competitors,” Friday said.

“The group needs to remain humble and continue to work hard every day for each other if we want to continue progressing, as right now we have not shown consistency and resilience in our performances and that is the next challenge on the journey we need to embrace and conquer.”  Via usarugby.org