1981 ->: Early History of  US National Sevens Rugby Teams

2. 1986-1993:  International 7s Expands

Through the first Rugby World Cup 7s

Emil Signes

JANUARY 9, 2016
(rev. 2/28/2016- 11:24)

- to tidy up 2/18/16 16:20 -
anyone have any pics from Sydney 1988?
(If it exists): find & copy Sicily 1991 article
Allyn: Copy HK 1992 RM April 20, 1992

(have pp. 8-12 but only 9 & 11 are good)


1986. Sydney and Hong Kong Sevens

1986 was the first year that there was more than one international sevens tournament, as the first annual (it would only last 3 years) Sydney Sevens. The national selectors decided to pick two completely separate teams; the first choice team, according to them,  would go to Hong Kong and the 2nd choice to Sydney.

US at Sydney Sevens (March 22-23, 1986)

Eagles at 1986 Sydney 7s
1986-0322-Eagles at Sydney.jpg
Eagles at Sydney Sevens March 22-23, 1986
Front, L to R: Steve Gray (player/coach), Mike Saunders, Blane Warhurst (captain), Mike Caulder, Danny Parris, Will Brewington
Back L to R: Terry Fleener (manager), Dave Jenkinson, Pete Deddeh, Terrence Titus, Pete Peluso, Joe Reagan (manager)

Terry Fleener and Joe Reagan shared management duties, and the players were

Will Brewington, Duck Brothers (Maryland Old Boys 15s)
Mike Caulder, Life Chiropractic
Pete Deddeh,
OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Steve Gray (player/coach), OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Dave Jenkinson, Oklahoma University
Danny Parris, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Pete Peluso, Bethlehem
Mike Saunders, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Terrence Titus, Life College
Blane Warhurst (captain), Old Blues (CA)

Results from Sydney and Hong Kong are found in the April 25, 1986 Rugby Magazine.
Click here for the Sydney results.      Click here for the Hong Kong results.

US Results at 1986 Sydney Sevens (W0 L4)

US  0 Wales 18.  This was the first time the rugby world was exposed to future rugby and rugby league superstar Jonathan Davies. Davies ran in two tries, and though the US had a lot of possession they couldn't do anything with it.

US 4 Tonga 18.  Tonga is always - and was especially at this time - a very good rugby team. It was a very physical game, and the Eagles' only try was by Will Brewington on a pass from Dave Jenkinson.

US 0 New Zealand 28.  The reports of the Eagle performance was that they handled well in the first half but couldn't get close to the New Zealand line, and trailed 0-10 at halftime. Tournament MVP Frano Botica scored two tries vs. the Eagles in the second half.

US 14 Korea 16 (De facto "Plate match").  There were no planned consolation matches (the Australians had said "we don't have losers' brackets in Australia," but due to general demand, there were extra games organized for day 2.  No details on this match were given in the Rugby Magazine article.

New Zealand beat Australia 32-0 in the championship game.

US at Hong Kong Sevens (April 5-6, 1986)

Eagles at 1986HK 7s
1986-0405 Eagles at HK-1200w.jpg
Eagles at Hong Kong Sevens April 5-6, 1986
Standing, L to R: Steve Finkel, Brian Vizard, John Fowler, Gary Lambert, Steve Gray
Kneeling, L to R: Tommy Smith, Mike Purcell, Charlie Wilkinson, Denis Shanagher, Mark Gaetjen

Steve Gray was the coach (was there a separate manager?) and the players were

Steve Finkel, Scioto Valley
John Fowler, Cincinnati Wolfhounds
Mark Gaetjen, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Steve Gray, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Gary Lambert, Life Chiropractic College
Mike Purcell, BATS (Bay Area Touring Side)
Denis Shanagher, BATS
(Bay Area Touring Side)
Tommy Smith, UCLA
Brian Vizard, O
MBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Charlie Wilkinson, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)

US Results at 1986 Hong Kong Sevens (W4 L1)

US 36 Singapore 0. This was not a difficult game, and the US scored 6 tries with no response; try scorers were Gary Lambert (3), Mike Purcell (2), Tommy Smith and Denis Shanagher. Smith made 4 conversions.

US 0 Fiji 26.  The Eagles hung in this game, but were beaten by a superior Fiji team.  The brackets were now set, and the Eagles were in one they felt they could win - the Plate.

US 14 Japan 4 (Plate Quarterfinal).  The US fell behind 0-4 when Mark Gaetjen got caught without support, but after that it was all US. From an offside vs Japan, Tommy Smith tapped the ball and moved it to Charlie Wilkinson who got it to Purcell who scored under the posts; Smith's kick made it 6-4. The Us got the ball from the kickoff and Smith fed Fowler who score in the corner.  Halftime score 10-4. In the second half the only try was by Brian Vizard and the final score was 14-4.

US 18 [South] Korea 12 (Plate Semifinal).  South Korea came into this match a 2-time Plate Champion and probably a slight favorite.  Finkel scored first following a US steal of a Korean lineout. 6-0. Wilkinson fielded the Korean kickoff and fed Fowler who scored between the points and the game started to feel easy. Charlie Wilkinson got tackled with no support and Korea scored to make the halftime score 12-4. The second half kickoff went to Tommy Smith, whose pass was picked off by Korea, who scored near the corner.  Smith tackled him away from the center which probably saved 2 points. 12-8. Shortly thereafter, Korea kicked the ball through the US line and scored in good position but missed the kick:12-12. The US knocked on the ensuing kickoff. Following back and forth play from the Korean scrum.  Finally, from a lineout, Smith set up a blindside move with Mark Gaetjen who touched down in good position. Smith's kick was good and the US was through to the Plate final.

US 24 Canada 18 (Plate Final). Less than a minute into the match, Canada led 4-0.  Following a lineout infringement Smith tapped to Wilkinson who fed Lambert for the try. Smith's kick made it 6-4. Denis Shanagher dummied and fed to Wilkinson who scored and the kick made it 12-4. Pat Palmer, the Canadian sprint champion, turned the corner on us and it was 12-8 at halftime. Following the second half kickoff, Charlie Wilkinson flipped a behind-the-back pass to Lambert who scored, and Smith's kick made it 18-8. Canada's ensuing kickoff bounced into Mark Gaetjen's hand, and he ran past the Canadians and took a 24-8 lead. Canada-US, however, is not an easy match, and somehow speedster Palmer got his hands on the ball twice and scored twice to bring Canada to 24-18.  From the kickoff Lambert kicked the ball to touch, the game ended, and the celebration began.

The South China Morning Post wrote that "the Eagles beat Canada in the most exciting final of the day - a match that marked the coming of age of North American Sevens - it was the first time a North American side had taken a title here, and it isn't likely to be the last."

New Zealand defeated the French Barbarians 32-12 to win the title.
Following the tournament, Mike Purcell learned that he'd been selected to join the World XV in a tour of South Africa later in the month.

1987. Hong Kong and Sydney Sevens

US at 1987 Hong Kong Sevens (March 28-29, 1987)

Eagles at 1987 HK banquet
1987-0329-Eagles at HK Banquet.jpg
Eagles at 1987 Hong Kong Banquet
Left to Right: Emil Signes (coach), Barry Williams, Mark Gaetjen, Tommy Smith, Steve Finkel, Mike Saunders, Brian Vizard, Charlie Wilkinson, Will Brewington, Joe Reagan (manager), Dan Kilen, Peter Parnell (physician), Gary Lambert

This was my first time coaching the Eagles. Joe Reagan was the manager.  The players were

Will Brewington, Duck Brothers (Maryland Old Boys 15s)
Steve Finkel, Scioto Valley
Mark Gaetjen, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Dan Kilen, Quad Cities
Gary Lambert, Life Chiropractic College
Mike Saunders, OMBAC
Tommy Smith, UCLA
Brian Vizard, OMBAC
Charlie Wilkinson, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Barry Williams, Los Angeles

1987 was the first year that all three teams from the Americas made the Cup round, as celebrated by a photo taken by Ed Hagerty of Rugby Magazine, shown below.

          ARG in Cup 1987
1987-03 USA CAN ARG - in Cup.jpg
1987 was the first year that all 3 American teams made the Cup Round

US Results at 1987 Hong Kong Sevens (W2 L1)

US W Taiwan L.   The score was not in the article.

US 12 Tonga 0.  No description.

US 6 New Zealand 20 (Cup Quarterfinal).  New Zealand got off to a 16-0 lead, but a Will Brewington try got it down to 16-6, and a Mike Saunders' break came very close to making it 16-12. Unfortunately, a couple passes later, we turned the ball over and New Zealand scored the last try for a 20-6 win.

Results from both Hong Kong and Sydney are found in the April 1987 Rugby Magazine.

New Zealand beat Fiji 12-6 to win the Hong Kong Cup final.

US at 1987 Sydney Sevens (April 4-5, 1987)

Eagles at 1989 Sydney 7s
1987-0405 Eagles at Sydney Sevens-800h.jpg
Eagles at 1987 Sydney Sevens
Standing, L to R: Emil Signes (coach), Dan Kilen, Mark Gaetjen, Gary Lambert, Brian Vizard, Steve Finkel, Joe Reagan (manager)
Kneeling, L to R: Peter Parnell (physician), Barry Williams, Tom Smith, Will Brewington, Charlie Wilkinson, Mike Saunders

US Results at 1987 Sydney Sevens (W3 L3)

Unfortunately, although I wrote a long article on this tour (both Sydney and Hong Kong), I did not record the try scorers nor write up the specific games in any detail.

US 4 French Barbarians 22.

US 20 Hong Kong 14. 

US 4 New Zealand 14.  We scored the first try of this game, and played well throughout, but couldn't generate enough offense.

US W Tunisia L (Plate QF).  Per my notes, this was an easy win.

US W Hong Kong L (Plate SF).  Per my notes, this was an easy win.

US 12 Western Samoa 25 (Plate Final).   Western Samoa raced to a 22-0 lead, but the US got it back to 12-22 with time to score two tries.  Western Samoa, however, with a kickable penalty, booted it through to give them a three-score 25-12 lead, and that sealed the game.

Australia beat New Zealand 22-10 to win the championship.

1988. Hong Kong and Sydney Sevens

Both Hong Kong and Sydney 7s were written up in the April 25, 1988 Rugby Magazine.

US at 1988 Hong Kong Sevens (March 28-29)

Eagles win 1988 HK Plate
1988-03 USA at HK Rugby West pic.jpg
Eagles Win Plate at 1988 Hong Kong Sevens
Back: Mike Siano, Jimmy Wilkinson, Jeff Lombard (manager), Emil Signes (coach), Charlie Wilkinson, Will Brewington, Dave Poquette
Front: Steve LaPorta, Barry Williams, Mark Williams, Tommy Smith, Kevin Higgins

I was the coach and, for Hong Kong, Jeff Lombard was the manager.  For Sydney I was both coach and manager.  The players were

Will Brewington, Duck Brothers (Maryland Old Boys 15s)
Kevin Higgins, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Steve LaPorta, Denver Barbarians
Dave Poquette, Denver Barbarians
Mike Siano, Philadelphia-Whitemarsh
Tommy Smith, UCLA
Charlie Wilkinson, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Jimmy Wilkinson
, Duck Brothers (NOVA 15s)
Barry Williams, Los Angeles
Mark Williams, Aspen

Both Hong Kong and Sydney 7s were written up in the April 25, 1988 Rugby Magazine.

US Results at 1988 Hong Kong Sevens (W4 L1)

US 24 Thailand 4.  Hong Kong rookie Kevin Higgins scored the first two tries, converted by Mark Williams. Both came on kickoff taps controlled by fellow Hong Kong rookie Mike Siano, who a few months before was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. The two Williams, Barry and Mark, each scored a try in the second half and Mark converted both.

US 12 Irish Wolfhounds 14.  Down 10-0 at the half, the Eagles stormed back on 60-m tries by Mike Siano and Barry Willaims.  Mark Williams' two conversions gave the US a 12-10 lead but a last minute coast-to-coast try devastated (temporarily) the US and kept us out of the Cup round.  The Wolfhounds were annihilated by New Zealand in the Cup Quarterfinals while the US went on to win the Plate.

US 12 Spain 6 (Plate Quarterfinal).  Spain jumped out to an early lead on a converted try (0-6).  A nice try by Barry Willams plus a Tommy Smith conversion leveled the score in the 3rd minute.  The Eagles went ahead for good when Steve LaPorta initiated a 70-m break, passed to Siano who continued the break, then gave it back to LaPorta for the try.  Tommy Smith's tough conversion gave the US a 12-6 lead which they nursed through the second half.

US 10 Tonga 6 (Plate Semifinal).  The only score in the first-half was a corner try by Barry Williams (4-0).  The Eagles extended their lead to 10-0 one minute into the second spell, when Siano drew a defender and sent Jimmy Wilkinson across from close-in for a try converted by Smith.

US 20 Canada 12 (Plate Final).  Based on far bigger margins of victory, Canada was favored in this match, and the first 3 minutes seemed to support this as the US, with four rookie Eagles - Mark Williams, Mike Siano, Jim Wilkinson and Kevin Higgins - was backed up in their own end under a relentless Canadian attack.

The Eagles defended heroically, however, and at the 3 1/2-minute mark launched a counterattack that resulted in a spectacular try by wing Barry Williams. From a scrum deep in US territory the ball went from Smith to Charlie Wilkinson to Barry Williams who beat Canada's world-class sprinter Pat Palmer for a try and Mark Williams' sideline conversion made the score 6-0.  At the 9th minute Barry made another long run going in touch at the Canada 2-m line. Mike Siano stole the ensuing lineout and scored try, converted by Mark. The second half began with a great Mark Williams try. The score was now 20-0.

The game went rapidly downhill from there. The Eagles started to play conservatively and all of a sudden they found themselves up merely 20-12 and Canada had several apparent tries called back. Thankfully for the US the game eventually ended with the score still 20-12 and the US were Plate Champions.

Eagles win Plate in HK 7s
1988-0328 Eagles win HK Plate in HK Paper-1500w.jpg
Eagles' Plate Victory Celebrated in Hong Kong Standard Monday March 28, 1988

Australia knocked off New Zealand in a tightly contested 13-12 win.

US at 1988 Sydney Sevens (April 2-3, 1988)

There are no team pictures nor action photos of the US at this tournament. It was the identical team to that which won the Plate Championship in Hong Kong the week before.  --  ¿does anyone from the tour have a pic? --

US Results at 1988 Sydney Sevens (W2 L2)

US 10 Argentina 4.  This was a great upset win. Will Brewington and Mike Siano teamed up to set up Will Brewington who ran down the right touchline for a try converted by Mark Williams. The second try was set up by a Charlie Wilkinson loop of Mark Williams; Charlie fed Barry Williams who the upped the lead to 10-0 by beating the Argentina wing to the corner. Argentina scored a second-half try but no more and the final score was 10-4

US 16 Netherlands 6.  The Williams duo scored all the points in this game; Barry scored a try, and Mark had 2 tries and 2 conversions. This victory meant that, regardless of the result vs. Fiji, the US would be in the championship round.

US 4 Fiji 26.  Fiji, led by Luke Erenavula's 2 tries, ended up having too much firepower for the US. Mark Williams avoided a shutout with a great run - outrunning 2 Fiji defenders after Tommy Smith created a gap.

US 0 New Zealand 28 (Cup Quarterfinal).  New Zealand dominated this game.

Mark and Barry Williams were our leading try scorers at Sydney as they had been at Hong Kong; the pair combined for 26 of the 30 points at Sydney.

It was a home victory as Australia beat New Zealand 22-10 in the Sydney final.

1988. Moscow Sevens: November 19 & 23

Eagles win Moscow 7s
1988-0919-23 Eagles at Moscow 7s.jpeg
Eagles Win 1988 Moscow Sevens
Top: Fred Paoli (manager), Brian Vizard, Gary Lambert
Bottom: Mike Saunders, Chris O'Brien, Kevin Higgins, Barry Williams, Gary Hein
What's with the finger signals?

The Eagles' 15s team toured the USSR in September 1988. During this tour they played in a sevens tournament held over two days, September 19 and September 23.  The tournament comprised 4 teams, the US, Romania, and two Soviet teams.

The tour management was coach Jim Perkins and manager Fred Paoli.  The players were

Pat Johnson, Louisville
Gary Lambert, White Plains
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Kevin Higgins, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Chris O'Brien, Old Blues (CA)
Mike Saunders, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Dave Skidmore, Tulsa
Brian Vizard, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Barry Williams, Los Angeles
Mark Williams, Aspen

US Results at 1988 Moscow Sevens (W3 L0)

US 18 Romania 16. Rugby Magazine noted that "The Eagles demonstrated their 7s expertise with a thrilling 18-16 win over Romania." After falling behind 16-12 and with time running out, Kevin Higgins "again demonstrated his astonishing speed." He scored in the corner and Chris O'Brien "calmly booted the sideline conversion" for the US win.  Earlier tries were by Higgins and Mark Williams and O'Brien converted both.

US 22 USSR I 10. The Soviets scored the first two tries to take a 10-0 lead. A length-of-the-field try by Kevin Higgins, converted by O'Brien, made it 10-6. Gary Hein tied the game.  A long football by Brian Vizard to Barry Williams resulted in a third US try, and Viz repeated the feat, passing to O'B who fed Hein for the 4th try. O'Brien converted 2 of the 3 second-half tries for a 22-10 win.

US 16 USSR II 14.  4 days later, the Eagles won the round-robin championship over the Soviet Jrs, who had defeated their seniors on the first day. The game was always close, but the Eagles never trailed. Barry Williams scored the first try, and the second featured another Vizard football pass finished with a Mike Saunders try.  The half time score was 10-4, but the second half started poorly as Gary Lambert tapped the ball back to no one, and the Soviets picked it off for a 10-10 tie. Barry Williams scored the ultimately winning try as O'Brien made his second conversion. The USSR scored again but failed to convert. Championship final 16-14.

The results of this tournament are in the October 10, 1988 Rugby Magazine.

1989. Sydney and Hong Kong Sevens

The results of both tournaments are found in the April 17, 1989 Rugby Magazine.

US at Sydney Sevens (March 25-26, 1989).

          at 1989 Sydney Sevens
1989-03 US at Sydney 7s over Wales-1200w.jpg
Eagles play golf in Sydney
L to R: Gary Hein, Will Brewington, Jimmy Wilkinson, Emil Signes (coach/manager), Tommy Smith, Russ Ortiz, Dave Poquette, Charlie Wilkinson, Chris O'Brien

Emil Signes was the coach and manager, and the players were

Will Brewington, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Rory Lewis, Washington (DC)
Chris O'Brien, Old Blues (CA)
Russ Ortiz, UCLA
Dave Poquette - Denver Barbarians
Tommy Smith, Santa Monica
Charlie Wilkinson, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Jimmy Wilkinson
, NOVA (Northern Virginia)

US Results at 1989 Sydney Sevens (W2 L2)

Game results and brief write-ups

US 15 Wales 12.
  This was the game of the year for me, as the person coaching Wales, John Ryan, was my main rugby coaching mentor. Early in the game US and Wales speedsters Rory Lewis and Ieuan Evans swap 1000-m tries.  Tommy Smith scored a try from a perfectly executed double-switch penalty play.  Tommy made both conversions, then with less than 30 seconds left were awarded a kickable penalty.  Tommy let the clock run to less than 5 seconds, then slotted the game winner.

US 0 New Zealand 32.  We spent 3 minutes with New Zealand backed up to their line, but let them go and then they took the game over.  New Zealand also sored 32 vs. Wales and Korea and defeated Australia 28-0  in the semifinals the next day.

US 24 Korea 6.  Korea's speedy winger (who had burned New Zealand wing Terry Wright earlier in the day) burned us early to put us down 0-6.  Captain Tommy Smith was injured on the same play and we were without our leader. Charlie Wilkinson moved to scrum half and we were penalized on the first put-in. One Rory Lewis try followed by a Gary Hein hat trick, however, gave us a nice win. Chris O'Brien made 4 conversions.

US 10 Western Samoa 18 (Cup Quarterfinal).  The US had a very conservative game plan against Samoa based on possession, and it worked very well as we got off to a 10-0 lead with tries by Will Brewington and Gary Hein and a conversion by O'Brien. An inability to win our own ball plus an ill-advised cross-field football pass that was picked off for a try gave them two converted tries and they led 12-10. Another turnover gave Samoa the last chance and took away our last chance to win, and the tournament was over for the US.

New Zealand beat Western Samoa for the tournament championship.

US at Hong Kong Sevens (April 1-2, 1989).

          on bus in HKG
1989-03 USA in HKG bus pic for Town&Country-1200w.jpg
Eagles take over a Hong Kong bus
Top deck, L to R: Carl Weiss (team physician), Ed Ayub (trainer), Tom Billups, Barry Williams, Mike Siano, Emil Signes (coach.manager)
Bottom: Tony Ridnell, Mark Williams, Steve LaPorta, Gary Lambert, Andy Dujakovich, Chris O'Brien, Bob Watkins (general manager)

Emil Signes was the coach and manager, and the players were

Tom Billups, Quad City Irish
Andy Dujakovich, Kansas City
Gary Lambert,  White Plains
Steve LaPorta, Denver Barbarians
Chris O'Brien, Old Blues (CA)
Tony Ridnel
l, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach
Mike Siano, Philadelphia-Whitemarsh
Barry Williams, Los Angeles
Mark Williams, Aspen

US Results at 1989 Hong Kong Sevens (W2 L2)

Game results and brief writeups

US 24 Netherlands 4.  The first game was against a Dutch team featuring the four Marcker brothers, and Hans - the oldest - opened the scoring to make the game 0-4.  Three rookies (Andy Dujakovich, Tom Billups and Tony Ridnell) were making their first start in front of a packed house, and it took a couple of minutes for the US to get itself going: just before half, Barry Williams took a quick 22-m tap to himself, sidestepped two defenders and scored the try converted by Mark Williams. Steve LaPorta scored just after the half, Andy Dujakovich scored 2 minutes later following a Barry Williams break, and 6'5 240 Tony Ridnell took the next kickoff and ran it back for a try. Mark Williams made all 3 second half conversions.  With the score 24-4 and no time left, Barry Williams made a break and tore his ACL when he was tackled into a concrete rim that ran between the track and the field.  Barry would be out nearly a year, and the team lost a lot of firepower with his injury.

US 6 Hong Kong 16.  The game started at dusk simultaneous with rain that made the footing tough.  Hong Kong adapted to conditions better than the US.  Chris O'Brien converted a Mark Williams try early in the game in what turned out to be the last US points. With the score 6-4, O'Brien boomed a long kick which he missed touching down himself, by inches. In the second half, Hong Kong had a dribble downfield and fall on ball try, and then a third, and it was an upset win for the host.

US 28 Thailand 0 (Plate Quarterfinal). The US used a huge pack - Ridnell, Lambert, and Siano - and basically overpowered the undersized Thais. Tries were by Tony Ridnell (2), Chris O'Brien, Andy Dujakovich and Lambert, and O'Brien (3) and Mark Williams converted.

US 6 Tonga 19 (Plate Semifinal). The US had won this Plate Semifinal matchup last year, but Tonga turned the table: the US briefly led when Chris O'Brien scored - and converted - following physical play by Ridnell and Lambert for a 6-4 lead. Tonga scored just before the half to take the lead.  Midway through the second half, Tonga kicked a penalty goal to take a 2-score lead, 6-13, and then scored the last try to put the US out of the tournament.

New Zealand reversed its finals loss to Australia in 1988 by winning the championship 22-10.

1990. Hong Kong and Sicily Sevens

US at Hong Kong Sevens (March 31-April 1, 1990).

Eagles at 1990 HK 7ss
1990-Eagles at Hong Kong 7s.jpg
Eagles at the 1990 Hong Kong Sevens
Standing, L to R: Ed Ayub (trainer), Peter Parnell (physician), Gary Hein, Dave Poquette, Gary Lambert, Jimmy Wilkinson, Will Brewington
Kneeling, L to R: Emil Signes (coach), Kevin Higgins, Chris Petrakes, Barry Tofaeono (Williams), Charlie Wilkinson

Emil Signes was the coach/manager, and Ed Ayub the trainer; the players were

Will Brewington, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Kevin Higgins
, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Gary Lambert, White Plains
Chris Petrakes, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Dave Poquette, Denver Barbarians
Charlie Wilkinson, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Jimmy Wilkinson
(captain), NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Barry Tofaeono (Williams)*, Los Angeles

* It's my recollection that Barry Williams' grandfather, a Mr. Tofaeono, died in 1989, and that Barry changed his name in his grandfather's honor.  He is listed in the 1990 Hong Kong records as Tofaeono.  The name change did not last, however, and he is referred to throughout this document as Barry Williams.

US Results at 1990 Hong Kong Sevens (W2 L2)

To see the April/May Rugby Magazine article on the 1990 Hong Kong Sevens, click on the picture below, of all the team captains at the 1990 Hong Kong Sevens.  Jimmy Wilkinson is back, right.

Captains at 1990 Hong
                Kong Sevens
1990-04 Rugbycover-HKcaptains.jpg
All teams captains at 1990 Hong Kong Sevens (US capt. Jimmy Wilkinson top right)
Click on Picture to see write-up on Hong Kong 1990

US 18 Thailand 12.  The much bigger US team thought they could toy with Thailand, whom they'd beaten easily in the past, but no one told the Thais. The Eagles never trailed, nor did they put the game away. Kevin Higgins took the opening kickoff in for a try. Thailand then popped the ball over the Eagles' heads and beat them to the touchdown. Dave Poquette fed Jimmy Wilkinson to make it 8-4, and then Kevin Higgins scored his second try. A Thai interception made the score 12-8, then Jimmy stole a Thai lineout and finished the scoring at 18-12.

US 6 Fiji 28.  Fiji won this game easily featuring the playmaking of 20-year old Waisale Serevi.  The US got a score from Dave Poquette on a penalty play in the second half, and Chris Petrakes got the conversion

US 30 USSR 4 (Plate Quarterfinal).  In the match between these Cold War superpowers, the US came out on top of a USSR team that was just coming off a 3-week 15s tour to Australia.  The Hong Kong organizers, playing up the supposed drama, announced the touch judges as George Bush and Mikael Gorbachev.

It was a one-sided game and the US scored the first 4 tries, by Jimmy Wilkinson, who then fed Gary Lambert for a 25-y run.  4 minutes into the first half Barry Tofaeono (who would be Barry Williams again the following year) sidestepped a defender and scored a 70-y try. Barry put in a grub kick from his own 22; it was fielded by Jimmy, who fed Barry and Barry finished. Tofaeono had 3 conversions.

US 6 Hong Kong 16 (Plate Semifinal).  This was a depressing repeat of last year's match vs. Hong Kong.  The best American on the field, commented journalist Ed Hagerty, was Stuart Krohn, who was playing for Hong Kong. (Note of 2016: Stuart has been back in the US for years and runs ICEF, a rugby program in Southern California for underprivileged youth.)  Of course, Hong Kong usually fields decent sides at their tournament: in this one they had Ian Calder, a former NZ Colt and Wellington provincial player and Craig Pain, a British Colleges rep.  Still, the US should be able to win these games. The US' only score was Kevin Higgins' game opening score; Tofaeono converted.

Fiji defeated New Zealand 22-10 in a very exciting final.  In fact, the try that put them ahead in this game has often been called "the best sevens' try ever." 

Oddly - and I doubt this would happen now with today's security - the majority of the US team "hung out" in the field area after our Plate semifinal loss and went and sat on the sidelines to watch the final.  I recently (Feb. 2016) went back to watch the video and found us. The clip from the video, below, was taken in the first half (on the field you can see Fiji, left, and NZ right). Click on the picture to see "the try," which took place in the second half to put Fiji ahead after New Zealand had taken a 10-0 lead.  The famous passing sequence was: Vesi Rauluni throws the long one-handed pass to Waisele Serevi who taps it over his head to Noa Nadruku who "hikes" it between his legs to Tomasi Cama (his son of the same name would become a well-known player for New Zealand) who runs around New Zealand winger John Gallagher and scores between the posts for a converted try to make the score 12-10.  In the replay, if Cama had taken another 10 meters to make his break on Gallagher we would have been visible on the sideline on the video replay. (At least Will Brewington and I were also in this group but weren't immortalized in this video.)

Eagles watching NZ-Fiji
            final 1990
1990-03 sidelines of THE Fiji try in HK-1000w.jpg
Watching the famous Fiji - NZ final from the sidelines in 1990
Chris Petrakes on very left, Dave Poquette on very right. Charlie Wilkinson in middle with pink hat and pretty sure it's brother Jimmy to his left.
Click on image to show "the best try ever"

US Men at Sicily Sevens (June 2-3, 1990)

Eagles at 1990 Sicily Sevens
1990-05 Eagles at Sicily 7s.jpg
Eagles at 1990 Sicily Sevens, Catania
Top, L to R: Carl Weiss, physician, Steve LaPorta, Robard Williams, Scott Stephens, Mark Miller, Bill Downing, Emil Signes (coach)
Bottom, L to R: David Dean, Tommy Smith, Tom Billups, Stephen Siano, Andy Dujakovich
Photobombing the photo, I realized in 2016, is former Hong Kong player Stuart Krohn (who confirms it)

          at Etna   Eagles on
1990-05 Eagle and Etna-1000w.jpg / 1990-05 Eagles at top of Mt Etna-600s.jpg
Left: Team with active volcano Mt. Etna in the background
Right: on top of Etna. Dujakovich, Signes, LaPorta, Downing
Mt. Etna last erupted in December 2015

Emil Signes was the coach, and Carl Weiss the team physician; the players were

Tom Billups, Whakatane Marist, NZL
David Dean, NOVA
Bill Downing, Bethlehem
Andy Dujakovich, Kansas City
Steve LaPorta, Denver Barbarians
Mark Miller, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Steve Siano, Philadelphia-Whitemarsh
Tommy Smith, Santa Monica
Scott Stephens, Washington
Robard Williams, Boston

US Results at 1990 Sicily Sevens (W1 L3)

US 4 Stade Toulousain (France) 28.  The US was taking French scrums and winning their own kickoffs, yet once they had the ball, managed to turn it over on several occasions, and all 5 French tries were from US possessions. The only try was by Eagle rookie and sprinter Robard Williams.

US 24 Argentina 6.  This was a wonderful performance against a Puma team featuring legendary flyhalf Hugo Porta.  Argentina scored the first 6 points. After that, the Argentinean wing was introduced to little skinny Dixie Dean. The Puma wing threw every move he had at Dean without being able to score; when Dixie got the ball his stepped his opposite and scored from 50 meters. The Argentinean wing did not challenge him again.  Going into the second half 6-6, Mark Miller won the kickoff and fed Scott Stephens for the 50+ meter try. The Eagles defense forced a turnover, and Steve LaPorta got the ball to Tommy Smith who scored the resultant try. Steve Siano scored the 4th try following good ball movement from the kickoff, and all 4 tries were converted by Smith.

US 10 Romania 24. Romania got away with a bad clearing kick that bounced for them and resulted in their first try. The Romanians kept the ball until a couple minutes into the second half when Dixie Dean scored another 50-m try.  An great individual try by Steve LaPorta gave the Eagles their second score.

US 10 USSR 12.  This was a far better USSR team than the one the US defeated in Hong Kong. Nevertheless the US should have won. The Soviets took a 6-0 lead but a 50-m try by Smith made the score 6-6 at half time.  With only a couple minutes left in the game, the USSR flyhacked ahead to take a 12-6 lead.  A Tom Billups' try on his 40-m break made it 12-10 but the easy conversion was missed.  The game ended when the US, with a 2 on 1, knocked on.

The game reports are excerpted from the article in the Rugby Magazine August 1990 issue: click here for the report.
Fiji defeated Samoa 34-9 in the championship game.  This followed a pool match between the two that
included the worst "free-for-all" fight I have ever seen in rugby. This is a selection from my tournament report (see above): " ... 10 of the 14 players were back in the Samoan end of the field duking it out....  Duking it out? Well, fighting to the death would be more like it. Players were being punched, drop kicked, and when the benches cleared we were witness to atavistic tribal butchery acted out on the rugby pitch."  I'd never seen anything like it... And - in the 25+ years that have passed, thankfully, never again. (We - the American team -, and others I'd talked to, had all agreed beforehand that it was stupidity on the part of the organizers to place them in the same bracket.) The winner? It was a 22-22 tie.

We never found out if the two teams talked it out, or if they decided independently of each other, but there wasn't an ounce of undue aggression on the pitch during their repeat match in the final the next evening.

The ill-fated Monte Carlo Sevens (scheduled for October 7, 1990, canceled one week out)

Chris Petrakes reports that he was selected for the US to attend a tournament in Monaco, which ended up being cancelled due to drought.  As, he says, he didn't play that many sevens tournaments for the US, so he would like some recognition. Here it is.

Attached is the invitation to the Monte Carlo Sevens.

Luckily, everyone on this list has had at least one actual appearance for the US (although early research indicates Whitaker may not have played sevens for the US.

Selection note for Monte Carlo Sevens
1990-08 Monte Carlo selection note
Selection Announcement for US team to Monte Carlo Sevens

1991. Hong Kong (and other) Sevens

US at Hong Kong Sevens (March 23-24, 1991)

Eagles at 1991 Hong Kong 7s
1991-03 USA 7s in HKG.jpg
Eagles at 1991 Hong Kong Sevens
Standing, L to R: Steve Finkel (coach), Will Brewington, Jim Burgett, Scott Stephens, Gary Hein, Tony Ridnell, Emil Signes (manager)
Kneeling, L to R: Tommy Smith, Kevin Higgins, Charlie Wilkinson, Chris Andres, Steve Syrstad (trainer)

Chris Andres, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Will Brewington, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Jim Burgett
, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Kevin Higgins, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Tony Ridnell, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Tommy Smith, Santa Monica
Scott Stephens, Washington (DC)
Charlie Wilkinson
, NOVA (Northern Virginia)

US Results at 1991 Hong Kong Sevens (W3 L2)

US 22 Papua New Guinea 10.  Charlie Wilkinson and Jim Burgett scored two first-half tries to give the US a 10-0 lead, but PNG came right back to make it 10-10.  Jim Burgett the scored 2 more (one on the "Dubai" penalty play) for a hat trick and a 22-10 win.  Tommy Smith made all 3 conversions.

US 0 Australia 22.  The US stayed in the game for a half (0-4) with great pressure defense, but the US attack was nonexistent and Australia scored 3 more tries.

US 20 Germany 0 (Plate QF).   For some reason, the odds-makers made Germany the favorite of the Plate, but the US defense was excellent and in German standout Mathias Entenmann's words, "You kicked our asses."  Scott Stephens had 2 tries, Will Brewington and Gary Hein one each, and Tommy Smith converted two.

US 20 Tonga 14 (Plate SF).  Tonga - US is normally a toss-up; the US got off to a 14-0 lead playing sevens; the creators created and the finishers finished. Scott Stephens scored 2 tries and Kevin Higgins 1: 14-0 at halftime. But with Tony Ridnell suffering a concussion, and replaced by also injured Jim Burgett, Tonga came back with 2 tries.  The Eagles in-the-lanes defense scored the winning try for them as, flooding the lanes following a kickoff, Will Brewington managed a full speed interception for the final score.  Tommy Smith converted 2 tries.

US 6 Argentina 36.  In the Plate Final for the first time in 3 years, were confident of repeating their Sicily 24-6 win over Argentina. The game, however, was a nightmare. Two props, Tony Ridnell and Jim Burgett, couldn't play because of injury, and Kevin Higgins, who had never played there, had to prop. As reserves we recruited Stuart Krohn, an American playing for Hong Kong, and Vaea Anitoni of Tonga (who would move to Oakland later that year and ended up playing often for the US). The game was never in doubt as Tonga streaked to a 24-0 half time lead (and streaking onto the field during the game was a "streaker", who pleased at least the crowd). Chris Andres' first Eagle try was the lone redeeming feature (Smith converted).

The article noted that the US would be competing in the Sicily Sevens in May.  With respect to the possible proliferation of international sevens tournaments, I wrote as the last sentence of the article, "Brothers and sisters, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Results excerpted from an article in Rugby Magazine, April 15, 1991.

Fiji won the 1991 Hong Kong Sevens 18-14 over New Zealand.

US at Sicily Sevens (25-26 May, 1991)

          at Sicily 7s 1991
1991-05 Sicily Sevens.jpg
May 1991. Eagles at Sicily Sevens
Top, L to R: Steve Finkel (Coach), Steve LaPorta, Russ Ortiz, Scott Stephens, Tom Billups, Chris Andres
Bottom, L to R: Jimmy Wilkinson, Dixie Dean, Charlie Wilkinson, Chris Petrakes, Andy Dujakovich

Steve Finkel was the coach and these were the players:

Chris Andres, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Tom Billups, Old Blues (CA), Whakatane Marist (NZ)
David Dean
, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Andy Dujakovich, Kansas City
Steve LaPorta, Denver Barbarians
Russ Ortiz, Santa Monica
Chris Petrakes,
MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Scott Stephens, Washington (DC)
Charlie Wilkinson, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Jimmy Wilkinson
, NOVA (Northern Virginia)

US Results at 1991 Sicily Sevens (W3 L3)

This story was put together based on the recollections of Chris Petrakes, Chris Andres and Scott Stephens.

Loss US v Irish Wolfhounds. 
Loss US v Russia. Big loss 
Loss US v Sicily Select (mostly South African players). Big loss

Win US v Bridgend (Plate QF).  Tight game.
Win US v Tarbes (Plate SF).  
Win US v Romania (Plate Final) (Overtime). Score unknown, but Chris Andres scored the winning try in double overtime; it was from a penalty tap: Petrakes to Billups to Andres.

Per Chris Petrakes' recollection, about half the team were Army players that were killed during the numerous uprisings that plagued Romania after the fall of Ceausescu.
Anecdote from Chris Petrakes re the Tarbes game: "We shared a shuttle bus with Irish and French Teams…with one interpreter that spoke French, Italian, Spanish and German.  She was a student from UCLA.  Early on she overheard the French making fun of us (in French of course) and being pretty disgusting…she angrily reprimanded them in French…and then told us later what they were saying.  Subsequently, we played them in the Semi’s and Billups was a physically destructive force in that game."

1992. Hong Kong and Benidorm Sevens

US at Hong Kong Sevens (4-5 April, 1992)

Eagles at 1992 HK Sevens
1992-03 Eagles at Hong Kong-1200w.jpg
Eagles at 1992 Hong Kong Sevens
Back, L to R: Will Brewington, Tom Brewer, Tony Ridnell, Scott Stephens, Gary Hein
Front, L to R: Chris O'Brien, David Dean, Andy Dujakovich, Mike Telkamp

Steve Finkel was the Coach and Emil Signes was the manager.  The players were

Tom Brewer, Old Blue (NY)
Will Brewington (captain), MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
David Dean, NOVA (Northern Virginia)
Andy Dujakovich, Kansas City
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Chris O'Brien
, Old Blues (CA)
Tony Ridnell, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Scott Stephens, Washington (DC)
Mike Telkamp, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)

This was the last year that the tournament took place in this configuration of the Hong Kong Stadium (28,000).  The new Hong Kong stadium was built directly above this, and was usable (though not complete) for the 1993 tournament, and completely finished by the 1994 Sevens.

US Results at 1992 Hong Kong Sevens (W1 L2)

-- Results from this tournament are given in the Rugby Magazine April 20, 1992 (pp. 8-12), but several pages (8 and 10 and 12) are cut off in the scan I have. Need to get & scan good copy of page 10 which has the clubs of each player.

US 22 Germany 0.  The Eagles scored on several good attacking moves.  Tries were by Will Brewington, Andy Dujakovich, David "Dixie" Dean and Tony Ridnell.  Chris O'Brien converted 3 of them. The key to their victory, said captain Brewington, was "we abused their scrum."

US 0 Argentina 12.  The torrential rains that would plague this tournament throughout started almost concurrently with this game. There was no scoring in the first half, but Argentina scored twice in the monstrously heavy rain.

US 6 Tonga 20 (Plate QF).  The rain had poured so hard overnight that - just prior to the US-Tonga match on Sunday morning - the managers were called in and asked to vote on a proposal that, because of the condition of the field, scrums be outlawed for the day and replaced with tap kicks.  As manager of the US team, I voted against this proposal, which nevertheless passed.  While the US had the big men, Tonga is always at their best with a lot of space to play in.  Noting that the results of a comparable game with scrums would never be known, Rugby Magazine commented "What we do know is that, after an even first half, Tonga comprehensively outplayed the US at water rugby." Mike Telkamp scored the US try, converted by Chris O'Brien (this was in the days prior to drop-kick conversions; it's unlikely the ball would have bounced off the ground that day).

Fiji beat New Zealand 22-6 in the championship final.

US at Benidorm Sevens (May 22-23, 1992)

Eagles at 1992 Benidorm 7s
1992-05 Eagles at Benidorm 7s-1500w.jpg
Eagles at 1992 Benidorm Sevens
Front, L to R: Steve Finkel (coach), George Conahey, Tom Billups, Chris O'Brien, Dave Bateman
Back, L to R: Jon Hinkin, Scott Stephens, Tony Ridnell, Gary Hein, Finau Puloka,
Emil Signes (manager)

Steve Finkel was the Coach and Emil Signes was the manager.  The players were

Dave Bateman the Younger*, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Tom Billups, Old Blues (CA)
George Conahey, -- ¿club? --

Gary Hein
, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club) Jon Hinkin
Chris O'Brien, Old Blues (CA)
Finau Puloka,
OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach) Tony Ridnell
Scott Stephens, Washington

* Two Dave Batemans have represented the US sevens team.  This Dave Bateman, from Seattle, first represented the US in 1992, 7 years after Dave Bateman the Elder's last appearance.

US Results at 1992 Benidorm Sevens (W3 L1)

The Eagles won three games (including a "friendly" vs. the Ukraine and an exciting 36-0 win over the Public School Wanderers) and lost only one (the final, to Fiji!) at this event. The writeup is in the June 22, 1992 issue of Rugby Magazine.

Eagles 10 Ukraine 4.  The Eagles were constantly forcing breaks that weren't there, and the Ukraine's excellent defense shut down all Eagle breaks.  The Eagles were, however, in control most of the game because their own good defensive pressure kept the Ukraine in its own half most of the time. Dave Bateman and Chris O'Brien, tries, O'Brien one conversion.

Eagles 16 Ukraine 12. Because one team was unavailable, the US had a déja vu moment, and got to repeat the Ukraine matchup. The Eagles hoped to get back to form in this match but it was virtually a repeat of the first one; only a clutch try by Finau Puloka pulled the game out in the final seconds. Dave Bateman and George Conahey also scored tries and Chris O'Brien had 2 conversions.

Eagles 36 Public School Wanderers 0.  After an evening's rest, the Eagles pulled out their "A" game, and left the Public School Wanderers - one of the world's top invitational sides - in disarray.  They played deeper, were more patient, and kept the ball for virtually all of the 14 minutes.  Gary Hein had a hat trick, and Tom Billups, Scott Stephens and Jon Hinkin had a try each. Scott Stephens commented: "it was one of those games you wish would never end." 

Eagles 4 Fiji 30.  The Eagles didn't play badly, but Fiji was at another level. The lone Eagle try was by Scott Stephens, who dragged a Fiji defender several yards over the line to score only the fourth-ever Eagle try against Fiji, in five contests.

1993. The first Rugby World Cup Sevens 

Prelude: Canberra, Fiji and Hong Kong Sevens

Steve Finkel was the coach, and Emil Signes the manager.  The 13 players that took part in the three tournaments are listed below.  The writeup is in the April 12, 1993 issue of Rugby Magazine.  1993, by the way, was the first year of the 5-point try.

1=Canberra, 2=Fiji, 3=Hong Kong
Club T1
Tom Billups
Old Blues (CA)

Tom Brewer
Old Blue (NY)

Will Brewington

Jim Burgett
Old Puget Sound

David Dean

Andy Dujakovich
Kansas City
Gary Hein
Old Blues (CA)
Jon Hinkin
Chris O'Brien
Old Blues (CA)
Tony Ridnell
Old Puget Sound
Scott Stephens
Washington (DC)

Mike Telkamp
Old Puget Sound
Brian Vizard
Total #


US at Canberra Festival Sevens (March 13, 1993)

Eagles at Canberra 7s
1993-03 Eagles at Canberra 7s-1200w.jpg
Eagles at Canberra lookout prior to Canberra Festival Sevens
Back, L to R: Brian Vizard, Emil Signes (manager), David Dean, Jon Hinkin, Tony Ridnell, Mike Telkamp, Gary Hein, Chris O'Brien
Front: Our liaison Mick Dundee, Tom Billups, Steve Finkel (coach), Andy Dujakovich, Tom Brewer

US Results at 1993 Canberra Festival Sevens (1-2)

USA 5 Western Samoa 40. The game started out well with a world-class run by David "Dixie" Dean, who fed Chris O'Brien for a beautiful try.  After that it was all downhill, 5-19 at half and worse in the second half.

USA 31 Australian Institute of Sport 10. AIS, featuring several up-and-coming Australian players, took the lead following a chip kick and chase. Following that, the US dominated. Tony Ridnell scored following a Gary Hein break. Andy Dujakovich was caught after a long run, but left the ball on the ground where Brian Vizard made a spectacular one-hand pickup and scored. O'Brien looped Hein and fed Dixie Dean for a 3rd try before halftime. The Eagles scored from a "Dubai" penalty play (I no longer remember what that was), and Dixie Dean scored his 2nd try following excellent ball movement.  Chris O'Brien converted 3 of the US's 5 tries.

USA 7 Canterbury (NZ Province) 29 (Plate Semifinal).  The Eagles' only try in this game was by Jon Hinkin, converted by Mike Telkamp.

Western Samoa won the tournament championship with a win over surprise finalist Canada.

US at Fiji Sevens (Suva, March 19-20, 1993)

US in
            Fiji paper 1993 Fiji caption
Left: 1993-03 USA at Fiji 7s from Fiji Times-crop-1000w.jpg // Right: 1993-03 Fiji 7s caption.jpg
From the Fiji Times: Eagles Receive Leis on Arrival in Fiji
L to R: Emil Signes (manager), Jon Hinkin Tony Ridnell, Tom Billups, Mike Telkamp, Chris O'Brien, Brian Vizard, Gary Hein, Andy Dujakovich (front), Steve Finkel (coach, behind), Scott Stephens

US Results at 1993 Fiji Sevens (1-3)

US 7 Fiji 35.  Jon Hinkin became - almost certainly  - the first American to score a try against Fiji in both soccer and rugby. Converted by Chris O'Brien, Jon's try was well deserved.  The US also had a decent first half, but couldn't get across the Fiji line.

US 7 Tavua 26.  To put this loss in context, the 8 quarterfinalists in this tournament were Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, and five Fijian provinces. Both New Zealand and Australia lost to Fijian provinces. Pressure defense from a kickoff led to a Chris O'Brien try/conversion, and early in the second half the score was merely 7-12.  But Tavua scored two more converted tries.

US 19 Solomon Islands 7.  The US scored first on a set play, when Dujakovich ran through a gap and moved the ball - Dujakovich- Gary Hein - Scott Stephens - Jon Hinkin for the try. The Solomon Islands, however, in a game that should have been an easy win, came back with an 80-y try by their speedy wing and a 7-7 score.  In the second half, Hinkin put a move on the opposing winger to put us ahead, and Chris O'Brien, set up by the physical play of the big guys (Brian Vizard and Tony Ridnell) finished the scoring with both a try and a conversion.

US 0 Australia 38 (Plate Semifinal).  To quote from the Rugby article "the Plate semifinal was an unmitigated disaster in which the US did nothing right.

Fiji defeated Fijian province Suva in the championship final, 26-0.

US at Hong Kong Sevens (March 27-28, 1993)

Temporary 1993 Stadium
1993 HK Stadium-temp-1300w.jpg
Hong Kong Stadium 1993: cover not yet built: this year's capacity 34,000
The fans were lucky the weather held up

Eagles at Hong Kong Sevens
1993-Eagles at HK 7s-1300w.jpg
Eagles at 1993 Hong Kong Sevens
Standing: Ed Ayub (trainer), Steve Finkel (coach), Jim Burgett, Will Brewington, Brian Vizard, Tony Ridnell, Scott Stephens, Jim St. Ville (physician), Emil Signes (manager)
Kneeling: Jon Hinkin, Chris O'Brien, Gary Hein, Mike Telkamp, Andy Dujakovich

US Results at 1993 Hong Kong Sevens (1-2)

US 42 Singapore 0.  The Eagles lived up to their heavy favorite status and did it while playing to the pattern: Scott Stephens made two great breaks one of which he scored and the other which he passed to Andy Dujakovich. Jon Hinkin, in his first Hong Kong appearance scored for a 21-0 halftime lead.  In the second half Will Brewington scored 2 tries and Dujakovich one.  Mike Telkamp converted all 6 tries.

US 0 Australia 45.  This was an embarrassing loss, as virtually every Eagle possession led to a turnover. 7 tries, 5 conversions to none.

US 12 Italy 17 (Plate Quarterfinal, Overtime).  Italian coach, former All Black Wayne Smith, was elated over Italy's play, but the Americans felt that with fewer mistakes the game would have been won in regulation time. Jim Burgett and Chris O'Brien scored tries, and O'Brien converted one. From a scrum early in overtime, Italy executed an excellent double switch (C/W, W/FH) and the Eagle response was inadequate.

Western Samoa defeated Fiji 14-12 in a fiercely contested final, which began with both of them doing their equivalent of the better-known Haka.  From my write-up at the time: "when the Samoans finished, they leapt towards the Fijians and ended up almost in their faces. The show was about to begin!"

Rugby World Cup: Edinburgh, Scotland (April 16-18, 1993)

Eagles at Rugby World Cup 7s
1993-04 Eagles at Rugby World Cup 7s-1200w.jpg
Eagles at 1993 Rugby World Cup 7s - Edinburgh, Scotland
Standing: Emil Signes (manager), Jim Burgett, Scott Stephens, Tony Ridnell, Brian Vizard, Will Brewington, Ed Ayub (trainer), Jim St.Ville (physician)
Kneeling: Steve Finkel (coach), Mike Telkamp, Gary Hein, Jon Hinkin, Andy Dujakovich, Chris O'Brien

Steve Finkel was the coach, Emil Signes the manager, Ed Ayub the trainer, and Jim St.Ville the team physician.  The players were

Will Brewington, MOB (Maryland Old Boys)
Jim Burgett,
OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Andy Dujakovich, Kansas City
Gary Hein, Old Blues (CA)
Jon Hinkin, OMBAC
Chris O'Brien, Old Blues (CA)
Tony Ridnell, OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Scott Stephens, Washington
Mike Telkamp,
OPSB (Old Puget Sound Beach)
Brian Vizard, OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)

US Results at 1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens (1-4)

Summarized below, the results can be found in the May 24, 1993 issue of Rugby Magazine.

US 7 France 22.  Gary Heins commented that "we didn't pressure them and never created opportunities. We just waited for them to make mistakes."  Hein scored the Eagles only try after a nice break by Will Brewington. Chris O'Brien converted. 

US 5 New Zealand 19.  The Eagles played much better in this game. The one US try was by Scott Stephens.

US 0 Ireland 38. Ireland totally outplayed the US in this game, taking a 26-0 halftime lead.

US 31 Netherlands 0.  The US started out slow and scored only once, an intercept try by Jim Burgett, converted by O'Brien. Then there were 4 second half tries, by Chris O'Brien (following a turnover forced by an Andy Dujakovich tackle and an assist from Tony Ridnell). Mike Telkapm and Dujakovich scored 2 more, and then Jim Burgett made a huge break and dished off to Ridnell for the try; O'Brien converted  2 of the second half tries.

US 19 Korea 26 (Plate Quarterfinal).  This figured to be a tough game and it was.  The winner would advance to the Bowl round and the loser was out. The US scored first when Jon Hinkin kicked ahead for Gary Hein to touch down; O'Brien converted. Korea scored, then Gary Hein scored, then Korea again, for a 12-12 halftime score. Shortly after the second-half started, Korea scored to take a 19-12 lead.  The US came back to tie it 19-19 with a Jim Burgett try and O'Brien conversion, but the defense wouldn't hold and Korea scored the last points to get into the Bowl; the US was out.

Underdog England surprised the rugby world by knocking off Australia 21-17 in the final of the first-ever Rugby World Cup Sevens.