USA Sevens Head Coach Al Caravelli is calling on experience for the first three rounds of the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series.
After winning a bronze medal for Team USA in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Caravelli has made six changes to the team for the Australia, Dubai, and South Africa rounds of the World Series.
“We have Matt Hawkins back from injury, and we have Mark Bokhoven going from strength to strength. We have some veterans returning to the Series, so we have a very good mixture of age and experience,” said Caravelli.
Hawkins, the powerhouse forward and team captain, makes his return to the side after missing time due to injury. The team leader feels healthy and ready to put his stamp on the new World Series.
Hawkins, Bokhoven, Mike Palefau, and Nick Edwards will offer the younger contingent on the squad guidance and leadership in the hopes of bagging some early season points in the Series.
Youngsters Shalom Suniula, Zack Test, and Colin Hawley have over six years of combined Series experience and offer a great deal of speed, elusiveness, and know-how on the field.
Tai Enosa, Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell, all of whom played in the Series last season, will join the team after missing out on the Eagles’ Pan Am bronze effort.
Returning to the squad after missing out on the entire 2010/11 Series is Nick Edwards who was a regular before last season, and whose game awareness and pace will be a welcome addition to the team.
Folau Niua was a standout in Guadalajara and has solidified his spot in the USA backline after setting up some stunning tries for his teammates last month in the Pan Ams.
Duncan Kelm, the former All-American and USA Under 20 will have a chance to earn his first international sevens cap, impressing with his fitness and silky skill set.
In September Caravelli was spoiled for choice at centre but with an injury to Paul Emerick before the Pan Ams, an injury to Roland Suniula during the Pan Ams and Blaine Scully and Mile Pulu picking up injuries during the most recent camp, the once centre-rich squad is somewhat depleted. However, the very capable veteran Palefau and a number of utility backs have allowed Caravelli to cope with the substantial hit to the crucial position.
The USA will face Pool B opponents Australia, South Africa, and Japan in Gold Coast, with the hopes of making the Cup quarter finals.
USA Squad, Gold Coast Sevens - Round 1, HSBC Sevens World Series
Matt Hawkins (Belmont Shore; San Diego, Calif.)
Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians; Ames, Iowa)
Miles Craigwell (Old Puget Sound Beach; Boston, Mass.)
Shalom Suniula (Belmont Shore; San Diego, Calif.)
Zack Test (At Large; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors; Provo, Utah)
Nick Edwards (Sydney University; San Francisco, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (Chicago Lions; Naperville, Ill.)
Folau Niua (San Francisco Golden Gate; East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore; Long Beach, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (Olympic Club; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Duncan Kelm (Belmont Shore; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
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