USA using Pan American Games as platform for Olympics

By Machuki Sundaa

USA Sevens are hoping to use the Pan American Games are as a building block for the future, giving uncapped players a chance to stake a claim for places in next year’s Tokyo Olympic squad.

JD Stephenson, who will coach the team at the Games in Lima, Peru, has six uncapped players in the squad along with six veterans with players looking to be part of the 2019/20 USA Sevens residency programme.

The Americans finished second in the recently concluded 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series behind Fiji and have emerged as one of the best teams on the circuit.

“Our Pan Am squad is excited to continue on the overwhelming success of the sevens programmes as a whole,” Stephenson was quoted as saying to USA Rugby. “Automatic qualification for both our men’s and women’s programmes is a tough act to follow, but the group selected is hungry for an opportunity to impress against some of the world’s best.

“The selection committee has picked a squad that represents our Tokyo 2020 hopefuls, but also those who could be pivotal in our success working towards 2024.”

Since the inception of sevens rugby into the Pan American Games, the Eagles have won bronze in 2011 and 2015.

The squad: Joe Schroeder (vice captain), Jake Lachina, Chistian Dyer, Lorenzo Thomas, Ben Broselle, Harley Wheeler, Cody Melphy (captain), Naima Faula’au, D’Montae Noble, Marcus Tupuola, Maceo Brown Travion.

Main photo: Twitter

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