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U.S. men's rugby roster features 'fastest man' Isles, other Rio returners

U.S. men's rugby roster features 'fastest man' Isles, other Rio returners
Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 14:04:28-04

USA Rugby on Friday announced the members of the 15-man U.S. men’s rugby sevens team headed to the Tokyo Games. The team will be led by reigning captain Madison Hughes, who is joined by six of his teammates from the 2016 Rio Olympics, where rugby sevens made its Olympic debut.

Head Coach Mike Friday was instrumental in selecting the team, which includes several notable players. Flyhalf Folau Niua, 36, will become the second-oldest Olympic rugby player in Tokyo and will bring his breadth of experience and talent to the team. Wing Carlin Isles, the all-time scoring leader in tries for the U.S. who is known for being the fastest player in rugby, will be a player to watch when the team hits the pitch in Tokyo. 

SEE MORE: Get to know Olympic hopefuls Isles and Baker

Similarly to Isles, prop/hooker Danny Barrett has made over 50 appearances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and is one of the most decorated American rugby players. The Olympic veterans will be joined by 5 players making their debut in Tokyo. One of those first-time competitors, Stephen Tomasin, was nominated for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2019.

This year, the U.S. men are looking to rise the ranks to the medal round, a feat they fell shy of achieving in Rio with a ninth place finish. The team’s performance has taken a turn for the better since then, however, as last season they claimed the No. 2 world ranking spot after taking home seven medals in 10 tournaments. 

At the Tokyo Games, Team USA will face South Africa, Kenya, and Ireland between July 26-28 in Pool C. The team is composed of 12 starters, 1 alternate, and 2 traveling reserves, totaling a 15-man roster. The full roster is below.

U.S. Olympic Men's Rugby Sevens Team

  • Perry Baker, Wing
  • Dany Barrett, Prop/Hooker
  • Maceo Brown, Utility 
  • Madison Hughes (Captain), Halfback
  • Martin Iosefo, Center/Prop
  • Carlin Isles, Wing
  • Matai Leuta, Forward
  • Folau Niua, Halfback/Flyhalf
  • Brett Thompson*, Forward 
  • Joe Schroeder, Forward
  • Stephen Tomasin, Utility
  • Kevon Wiliams, Halfback/Wing
  • Cody Melphy* (Alternate), Forward
  • Naima Fualaau (Traveling Reserve), Halfback/Flyhalf
  • Malacchi Esdale (Traveling Reserve), Center/Wing

*Thompson was announced as the replacement for injured forward Ben Pinkelman on July 7. Melphy replaced Thompson as the team's alternate.

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