BOULDER, Colo. — Four players with Utah ties are among the 12 players named to the Atlantis Sevens team that will play in Victoria International 7s in British Columbia on July 14.
The team is an ad-hoc American development team that will be managed by the United States National Sevens head coach Alex Magleby.
Atlantis founder and long-time Sevens guru, Emil Signes, joins current Collegiate All-American 7s coach, Tony Pacheco, and Pacific Coast Grizzlies coach, John Tyler as the team’s will guide the team. Long-time national team athletic trainer, Tim Higgins, will round out the staff.
“Since our founding in 1986 approximately 100 players have represented Atlantis prior to being selected to the U.S.,” Signes said. “Atlantis is excited about the opportunity to play in this tournament, and we hope to be able to add several players from this team to that national team list.”
Atlantis will compete in the Victoria event against the likes of the Canadian National Team (playing as the Maple Leafs); as well as British Columbia, coached by Phil Mack, captain of the 2011 Pan American Games champion Canadian sevens side, and 2007 Canadian XVs World Cup captain, Morgan Williams. Joining Atlantis, Canada, and B.C. in the eight-team elite division will be the Cayman Islands national team, South Seas Connection, Island Crimson Tide, and Old Puget Sound Beach.
National team player — and former United RC player and Provo native — Maka Unufe, despite only 20 years old, will be one of the more experienced players on an Atlantis team made up of numerous up-and-comers.
“Maka is a quality player who has the speed of an outside back and the strength and aerial skills of a forward,” Magleby said of the former Utah Warriors star. “I’m excited to see him play with a group near his age, and to see his continued progression into a successful international.”
The forwards will consist of All-American and BYU captain Ryan Roundy, who debuted on the IRB World Sevens Series at the 2010 London and Scotland tournaments; 2012 CRC All-Tournament team player Brett Thompson; and 2011 7s All-American Brett Willis, the former Sac State receiver who has continued to hone his rugby craft with the Sacramento Lions men’s club team.
East Palo Alto Bulldogs captain, Jack Halalilo, who impressed selectors at the Best of the West 7s in June while with the Pacific Coast Grizzlies, will add experience all over the field. Armed Forces star Marcus Satavu returns from an injury sustained at the pre-London camp and will be able to add breadth in numerous positions as he works to full-fitness.
BYU’s Shaun Davies, coming off a recent test cap as scrumhalf with the US National 15s team, will join All-American Don Pati from Utah, three-time Honorable Mention All-American and former UC-Davis standout Tyler Harrison, and Aspen’s Peceli Rinakama to make up the play-making duties.
Outside speed will not be lacking with sub 4.3 40-yard times from Carlin Isles and Matty Harris. Both are relatively new to the game, but have picked it up quite quickly, with Harris playing at wing on the D-II National champion Lindenwood side and Isles recently learning the game under the tutelage of Aspen’s Andy Katoa.
Players who have Club 7s qualifiers the July 14 weekend were not considered for this tour.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Atlantis for this tour, as we start to develop a consistent tier between domestic competition and the IRB circuit. We’ll be looking at more tournaments like this with established American touring sides to help us in that endeavor,” Magleby said. “The team is a bit green but assemblies like the Victoria 7s will help with their continued development as well as help us identify players who are “circuit-ready” in the very near-term.”