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7s Camp Goes Well, Now What?

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 in Elite Level Rugby USA 7s

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(New talent Dimitri Efthimou showed well)

The first camp of the USA 7s team’s season is done and coach Al Caravelli is in the process of contacting players to let them know where they are in the pecking order.

Caravelli said he was overall very pleased with the athleticism of the players involved, and the overall speed, but added the fitness, while good, will need to improve.

“It was one of our fastest camps,” said Caravelli. “And what was nice  was that two players who weren’t really on my radar before the All-Star Championships did really well.”

That would be Dimitri Efthimou of Mystic River (pictured above) and “Suli” whose full name is Aotealoa Holani Nahaou Unaloto.

Caravelli will be providing fitness programs to all the players, and then the next step is to establish what the next step is. Caravelli wants to take the team to the Gold Coast 7s in Australia November 7-8 and then to the North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) 7s in Mexico City a week later.

But all that depends on funds. USA Rugby is in the red right now and the 7s budget, as was every budget, has been cut. Even though the team is looking ahead to a new 2009-2010 season, they are working off 2009 money, of which there is none.

Reports that an outside source might professionalize the team are tantalizing, but as yet have not become reality, and so Caravelli waits.

“Not going to Gold Coast and NACRA wouldn’t be a disaster, but it would benefit us,” Caravelli said, pointing out that Australia will field four teams in Gold Coast for their national trial, and New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa are all expected to send two teams.

“If we missed those tournaments it wouldn’t put us at a disadvantage, but if we played, we would have an advantage,” Caravelli said.

That could all be a case of semantics – a lack of advantage can be seen by others as a disadvantage. For certain the USA 7s team would like to have two tough international tournaments under their belt before the IRB season starts. He has the players, now the question is whether someone can pay for it.

- Alex Goff

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