American speedster Perry Baker is out of the USA squad for this weekend’s Las Vegas Sevens, dealing a blow to the home side’s hopes of defending their title.
Baker, one of the fastest players to have ever played the game, is suffering from a broken jaw sustained during the Hamilton Sevens in New Zealand and is unlikely to play in the three-day event, according to the USA Rugby website.
He is also expecting to miss the Vancouver Sevens that takes place one week after Las Vegas and is targeting the Hong Kong Sevens for his return. The Americans are in Pool B with France, Argentina and Kenya in Las Vegas.
USA will send four teams to Las Vegas this weekend to take part in the HSBC Sevens Series event and Las Vegas invitational. Two each from the men and women will attend in what is the largest sevens weekend in North America.
Sent to defend the Men’s Eagles position on top of the HSBC circuit is the same squad that finished second in Sydney with two exceptions. Pat Blair and Anthony Welmers will instead lend their experience to the Falcons, with uncapped pair Marcus Tupuola and Ben Broselle added to the senior Eagles side.
Apart from Baker the team is at full strength though Maka Unufe remains a notable omission whose most recent appearance was at the World Cup in July.
Boosting the Falcons for the invitational tourney along with Blair and Welmers are Eagles Sevens caps Naima Fuala’au, Joe Schroeder, and Cody Melphy who captains the side. Recent Eagles XVs training member Harley Wheeler also named. Maciu Koroi and Thomas Robles add strength to the forwards.
While there is no official HSBC event for the women this weekend there will be two development sides sent by the USA, split into the Falcons and Hawks groups. HSBC Series regulars include Meya Bizer, Alev Kelter, Jordan Matyas (née Gray), Alena Olsen, and Hope Rogers.
The three-day HSBC event begins on Friday evening with all matches broadcast on ESPN. There are currently no broadcast partners for the invitational event.
Danny Barrett, Ben Broselle, Maceo Brown, Madison Hughes (capt.), Martin Iosefo, Carlin Isles, Matai Leuta, Folau Niua, Ben Pinkelman, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin, Marcus Tupuola, Kevon Williams
Pat Blair, Travion Clark, Lauina Falatea, Naima Fuala’au, Maciu Koroi, Cody Melphy (capt.), D’Montae Noble, Thomas Robles, Joe Schroeder, Inoke Waqavesi, Anthony Welmers, Harley Wheeler, Austin White
Meya Bizer, Jennine Duncan, Jaz Gray, Eti Haungatau, Alev Kelter, Nikki Kenyon, Kristi Kirshe, Jordan Matyas, Kiki Morgan, Alena Olsen, Hope Rogers, Stephanie Rovetti
Susie Adegoke, Ina Bailey, Cassidy Bargell, Kate Buzby, Emily Henrich, Ariana Ramsey, Taina Scott, Alex Sedrick, Samantha Sullivan, Salote Tausinga
Main photo: Perry Baker in training. credit: USA Rugby