HSBC World Sevens leaders, the United States, are enjoying their time at the top of the series ladder but know the hard work lies ahead of them at the Hamilton leg starting on Saturday.

The USA side have not won either of the season’s first two tournaments, but reached the final in both. The All Blacks Sevens beat them 21-5 in Dubai, but in Cape Town, the USA beat New Zealand 31-12 in the semifinals before losing to Fiji 15-29 in the final.

They have 38 points, one point ahead of New Zealand on the table, Fiji are two points further back.

Coach Mike Friday told usarugby.org, “The holiday break from a rugby perspective probably came at the wrong time with the momentum we had but that is the nature of the beast and we knew that was coming.

“The boys enjoyed the holidays and we have been back to work these last two weeks picking up where we left off and getting back into the rhythm of training and preparing for these notoriously tough two legs.”

Hamilton will be followed by the Sydney tournament next weekend.

Friday said the USA players knew they could take nothing for granted and sitting on top of the leader board meant little in the overall scheme of things and with eight legs still to play.

“Everyone will be coming for us,” he said.

“We need to stay focused, show humility and work hard on our own game individually and collectively as we lost two finals due to mistakes which were more than avoidable.

“We still have much to prove to ourselves when we take the field in Hamilton in which is a very physical and difficult group,” he said.

The USA are in the same pool as Tonga, Samoa and England.

Returning to the side for the first time in two years is Anthony Welmers who played in the Singapore Sevens in 2017 but who has suffered injury issues since. Pat Blair returns to the squad after last playing in the Canada Sevens in 2017.

The full USA squad is: Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Pat Blair, Maceo Brown, Madison Hughes (captain), Martin Iosefo, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Ben Pinkelman, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin, Anthony Welmers, Kevon Williams.