HSBC Dubai Rugby 7s To Highlight New USA Stars

This weekend the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series kicks off again as it opens up in Dubai. This season, the series has made several changes, particularly for the women’s side with the USA women’s Rugby 7s tournament moving from Atlanta to Las Vegas.

The Men’s HSBC Sevens Series rounds are: Dubai 7s (Dec 2-3rd), Cape Town 7s (Dec 10-11th), Wellington 7s (Jan 28-29, 2017), Sydney 7s (Feb 4-5, 2017), Las Vegas 7s (Mar 3-5, 2017), Vancouver 7s (Mar 11-12, 2017), Hong Kong 7s (Apr 7-9, 2017), Singapore 7s (Apr 15-16, 2017), Paris 7s (May 13-14, 2017), London 7s (May 20-21, 2017)

The Women’s HSBC Sevens Series rounds are: Dubai 7s (Dec 2-3rd), Sydney 7s (Feb 3-4, 2017), Las Vegas 7s (Mar. 3-5, 2017), Kiakyushu [Japan] 7s (Apr 22-23, 2017), Langford [Victoria, Canada] 7s (May 27-28, 2017), Clermont-Ferrand [France] 7s (June 24-25, 2017)

The return to Dubai will be the first time the international 7s teams will be featured since the success of the Olympic Sevens Tournament. For the USA, after ending the Olympics ranked 9th for the men, and 5th for the women, the opportunity to try out new up and coming players is always a positive to the growth of the USA program.

For the Women USA Eagles 7s, the new editions to the Sevens teams are, Nicole Strasko (Life University), Kayla Canett (Penn State), Kristine Sommer (Seattle Saracens), and Bulou Mataitoga. Look for additional young players such as, Naya Tapper (North Carolina) a former track and rugby star, and Cheta Emba (Harvard), a two sport varsity athlete in soccer and rugby.

Tapper looks to turn the corner on a Virginia Tech defender. Photo by Katy Folk.
Tapper looks to turn the corner on a Virginia Tech defender. Photo by Katy Folk.

The Women’s USA Rugby Full line up: (1) Cheta Emba, (2) Ryan Carlyle, (3) Kate Zackary, (4) Alev Kelter, (5) Nicole Heavirland, (6) Lauren Doyle, (7) Naya Tapper, (8) Joanne Fa’avesi, (9) Nicole Strasko, (10) Kayla Canett, (11) Kristine Sommer, (12) Bulou Mataitoga

The Men’s USA Rugby team, will be starting many of the Olympic team. The chance to bring in some new talent will be showcased as this USA team is looking to start the HSBC season off fast.

Newcomers to the USA Eagles Men’s 7s team are, Kevon Williams, a known speedster who came out of a high competitive Mexico Highlands University program and was featured in with the Denver Barbarians, Anthony Welmers (Davenport), and Don Pati (Utah).

Kevon Williams  Photo by Denver Barbarians
Kevon Williams Photo by Denver Barbarians

The full line up consists of: Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Andrew Durutalo, Alec Gletzer, Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo, Matai Leuta, Folau Niua, Don Pati, Stephen Tomasin, Maka Unufe, Anthony Welmers, and Kevon Williams.

The Dubai Rugby Sevens starts early on December 1st for the women and early December 2nd for the men.

The pool play for the women will feature, Russia (Dec 1 @ 4:28 am ET), South Africa (Dec 1 @ 7:24am ET), and Olympic gold medalist, Australia (Dec 1 @ 10:43 am ET)

The pool play for the men will feature, Scotland (Dec 2nd @ 12:44am ET), new comer Uganda (Dec 2 @ 3:44 am ET), and Olympic bronze medalist, South Africa (Dec 2 @ 10:06 am ET).