Oklahoma Captain Taylor Mokate to earn first USA 7s cap at Hong Kong 7s
March 23, 2011
USA Sevens head coach Al Caravelli has recalled national team captain Todd Clever to his side for the next two rounds of the World Series in Hong Kong and Adelaide, Australia.
Caravelli had several places in the side to fill due to injury and Clever is one of three players added to the fold. There are two new faces in Caravelli’s squad, Taylor Mokate and Peter Tiberio, both of whom hail from the collegiate ranks.
Mokate is a former USA Under 20 and Junior All-American captain as well as being a two-time Collegiate All-American. He gets an official call-up having filled in for injured players at the USA Sevens last month in Las Vegas.
Tiberio plays for the University of Arizona and is a three-time Collegiate All-American with genuine pace. Clever, meanwhile, returns from a stint playing professional rugby in Japan and offers the vital ingredients of leadership and experience.
“Training camp started off slow but kicked into turbo drive Tuesday afternoon,” said Caravelli.
“Because of the way the squad responded to camp we were able to apply more pressure on defense. The other item that we needed to work on was our passing. “The squad came together, gelled and increased its teamwork around our defensive patterns. The last four sessions have been on the upswing. We still have a lot of growth for this young squad but we are headed in the right direction.”
Sevens regulars have confirmed their spots after solid performances on previous Series stops. Colin Hawley brings the versatility of being able to play every position. Marco Barnard has turned into a real playmaker, while the outstanding Zack Test also returns.
Paul Emerick earned his place after notching four tries in Las Vegas and putting in a typically robust performance. Shalom Suniula returns after a nagging injury to take his place alongside brother Roland and Miles Craigwell and Justin Boyd complete the line-up alongwith tough team captain Matt Hawkins.
The USA Men’s Sevens team departs on Sunday for Hong Kong and face pool matches against Japan, China, and England.
USA Men’s Sevens squad: Marco Barnard (Harlequins, Pretoria), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins), Todd Clever (Suntory), Miles Craigwell (NYAC), Paul Emerick (Life), Matthew Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (The Olympic Club), Taylor Mokate (University of Oklahoma), Roland Suniula (Boston RFC), Shalom Suniula (Brisbane), Zack Test (At Large), Peter Tiberio (University of Arizona)