United States Olympic Committee

02/02/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/01/2018 23:10

Five For Friday: Rugby

By Paul D. Bowker | Feb. 02, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Ben Pinkelman (L) competes against Australia at the 2016 Hong Kong Sevens on April 9, 2016 in Hong Kong.

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Following a strong fourth-place finish in the Sydney Sevens, the USA Rugby Eagles Sevens enter this week's tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand, with a seventh-place spot in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings.

The Eagles face Canada, which finished 13th in Sydney, and Samoa on Friday. They'll also face ninth-ranked Kenya before going into the playoff round on Saturday.

'We have been drawn in another hugely physical pool this weekend and will need to recover - first and foremost - to be smart with our training, as well as to focus on the areas where we need to be better as a group,' said coach Mike Friday.

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The Eagles climbed eight spots in the series standings after their finish in Sydney. In that tournament they defeated Canada 40-19. Perry Baker, a 2016 Olympian and World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, scored nine total tries.

Ben Pinkelman, a 2016 Olympian, is the new team captain, replacing Madison Hughes, who is back home with a knee injury. Nicklas Boyer is joining the team this week, replacing the injured Steven Tomasin.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.orgon behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.