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Saturday 16 December 2017

7s star says US Eagles will take Thomond Park experience 'with us for the rest of our lives'

The Daveta team celebrate after winning the World Club 7s in Thomond Park last year. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie
The Daveta team celebrate after winning the World Club 7s in Thomond Park last year. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Jack Miller

USA Eagles star Danny Barrett admits the chance to run out at Thomond Park will be something he carries with him for the rest of his life, as he gears up for the Limerick World Club Se7ens next month.

The 25-year-old will travel to Limerick alongside his San Francisco Golden Gate teammates for the rugby showcase on August 21-22, with the US side included in the line-up for the third year in a row.

After a mouthwatering draw in Dublin earlier this month, San Francisco will go head-to-head with Wellington and the Canadian Maples in Pool A, as well as tournament hosts Munster.

And Barrett – who has represented the Eagles both in the Sevens and XV’s codes of rugby – believes locking horns with the famous Munstermen will have a unique resonance for his side.

“Growing up as a young player in the USA, you hear of places like Twickenham, Murrayfield, and Thomond Park, and to be able to step onto the turf as a player rather than just to watch is very special,” he said.

“It is something we will all take with us for the rest of our lives, and as an American you will pass that experience on to everyone you encounter.

“So it’s a really big thing to be a part of, and to see the history of rugby in the United Kingdom is something that the USA aspires to.

“We’re reaching at that goal and it’s only a matter of time hopefully before we can get there too.

“There are a lot of kids with Irish ties on the team – I think around three-quarters of the guys have some sort of Irish in them – and you just have to say the word ‘Munster’ to them and you can see them getting excited.

“You know the club, what has happened in the past and all about the club’s following. So to follow that Munster legacy at Thomond Park is an honourable experience for all of us.

“So we’re just excited for the opportunity to go, and we want to put on a good show.”

The Limerick World Club Sevens – the only international event of its kind – will be the first time all four Irish provinces will play in an international Sevens event, building on last year’s phenomenal tournament.

And with the northern and southern hemisphere also represented at Thomond Park, with sides involved from every continent, this year’s World Club Sevens will be a truly international event.

But it is the inclusion of rugby sevens in the Olympic programme has put the sport on the map stateside, with participation in US rugby through the roof at both the high school and college level.

And Barrett is hoping a Golden Gate squad packed with experience and some up-and-coming talent can do the country proud in Limerick.

He added: “There’s a few guys on the team that has both sevens and XV’s experience for the Eagles, so there is plenty of experience in our squad.

“Our guys have played on that kind of arena before, so they know what it feels like and what to expect from this tournament, so they can prep the rest of the boys to get ready too.

“This tournament is definitely the highlight of our season. It’s not too often as an American player that we get to go overseas and play.

“So to get to go to a tournament of this magnitude and play against teams from all over the world is a big deal, not only for our club, but the American rugby community as a whole.

“Of course we are representing the San Francisco Golden Gate team, but in a broader spectrum we are representing American rugby, so we want to give a good account of ourselves for our fans.”

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