USA Sevens coach Mike Friday is the man of the moment after he led his team to victory in the Las Vegas Sevens and though his team are at the peak of their powers, the Englishman is already planning for the future.
The victory at the Sam Boyd Stadium was even more impressive considering the fact that the team lost a number of key players to injuries, with their best player Perry Baker continuing to recover from a broken jaw he picked in Sydney in January and workhorse Danny Barret breaking his arm on the second day of the tournament.
Baker’s fellow speedster Carlin Isles continued to shine with some dazzling displays in the semi-final and final of the Vegas Sevens tournament. But there are several youngsters also waiting in the wings ready to step up.
“We’ve identified and picked up and nurtured two or three players each year and we’ve grown the group so we’ve got more strength in depth,” Friday said. “It does take time. The latest two or three that are starting to push on through now, there’s Maceo Brown, Marcus Tupuola and Ben Broselle. These boys are 21, 22.”
— Mike Friday (@MikeFriday09) March 4, 2019
Travion Clark, who is scoring tries at will for the USA Falcons, is another looking to make a breakthrough with the senior team. Friday and his coaching staff are working hard to develop the next generation of players.
He is well aware he may lose some of the present squad’s key players in the future.The players may want to try something different after some time and the head coach wants to be prepared for any departures.
The team will be in Canada for the Vancouver Sevens and will be relying on tried and tested talent such as Isles, Ben Pinkelman, Madison Hughes, Maka Unufe, Martin Iosefo, Folau Niua, Matai Leuta, Stephen Tomasin to help them extend their lead at the top of the HSBC World Sevens Series.
The rest of the rugby sevens world should be concerned. The USA winning without Baker and Barrett is proof that the Eagles are blessed with depth. And they are not finished yet.
Main photo credit: YouTube