US sevens side 'more athletic'
THREE players who represented the United States in their narrow 26-20 loss to world champions Australia will play in next month's Hong Kong Sevens.
Prop Chris Campbell, centre Maika Sika and prop Richard Tardits are included in a 10-man American Eagles squad for the March 26 and 27 tournament at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Of the three, Tardits stands out because of his pedigree not only as a rugby player, but as an Olympic bobsledder and American Football player.
The 28-year-old was part of the French bobsled team in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville and also played as a special team tackle with the New England Patriots.
Captain Chris O'Brien and hooker Jim Burgett are the only two survivors from last year's squad while forwards Tom Brewer and Mike Siano return to the scene.
Brewer missed last year's event through injury, while Siano makes his first appearance since 1988, when he helped the Eagles to a Plate victory.
Other new faces are Hawaiian Tomasi Takau, Vaea Anitoni, who represented Tonga at the 1991 Hong Kong Sevens and scrum-half Andre Bachelet.
Steve Finkel returns as coach for the fourth time while John Jelaco replaces Emil Signes as manager.
Said Finkel: ''The new look sevens team will be one of the most athletic in recent years.
''There is a combination of youth, speed and experience at work in the team.' American Eagles: Forwards; Chris Campbell, Richard Tardits, Jim Burgett, Mike Siano, Tom Brewer. Backs; Andre Bachelet, Chris O'Brien, Vaea Anitoni, Maika Sika, Tomasi Takau.
and our hope is to prove that the Eagles can compete with the best teams in the world.''