Team USA Men’s Rugby Sevens Beats Brazil in Olympics Place Semi Final

August 10, 2016

Team USA Men’s Rugby Sevens Beats Brazil in Olympics Place Semi Final


Photo: Team USA Men’s Rugby Sevens

Doug Coil

The Team USA Men’s Rugby Sevens team had to quickly wipe out their disappointment on narrowly not advancing to the quarterfinals and turn their attention to beating Brazil in the Place Semi-Finals.

The USA had come to within a difficult conversion of advancing to the quarterfinals in their loss earlier in the day to the number one ranked team in the world, Fiji.

While the the goals of getting a medal at the Olympics were not met, the Eagles battled in each match and were in contention in each match to the end. They ended Pool play at 1-2 beginning with  a 3 point loss to Argentina with no time, a 26-0 win against Brazil and a 5 point loss to Fiji.

Nate Ebner perspective on the exposure rugby received in the United States is right on target. In his post Fiji match remarks about the two three-day Rugby Sevens competitions he said that “This is huge for the sport. We got here and tried to give this everything that we have. Hopefully the American people see how great of a sport this really is. It’s going to be up to America and the people in the United States, how they respond to what they’ve seen.”

Head Coach Mike Friday added after the Fiji match that “Like all things sevens it was tight. It was a tough game. We gave everything out there but didn’t get the rub of the green. That’s life and that’s the game of sevens. What you saw there was a full-blooded effort from the blokes, and they were out there fighting for everything to the last second.”
“It was kind of symptomatic of what the Olympics is all about. We’ve missed out on the Quarterfinals by a point-difference of one. Small margins, but that’s the brutality of the Olympics and that’s the difference between winning and losing, and success and failure. Unfortunately we’ve come up just short.”

Friday then added about the mood of the team saying that “The reality is, right now, they’re broken. This game is unforgiving. We’ve got a couple of hours and then we put the shirt on again. When you put the shirt on you should wear it with pride, and that’s what we’ve been talking about. Representing your country is always an honor. These boys realize that and they understand that. We just have to give them their space and let them deal with the disappointment.”

“We’re all disappointed. We’re all absolutely gutted and heartbroken, but we’ll circle the wagons and come out and put out a performance in the next game that will typify and illustrate what this team, this country is all about.”

In any athletic competition, there are winners and losers. While the results were not what the Team USA Men’s Rugby Sevens wanted, they are not a loser. They have embodied the Olympic spirit, competing to the end and have represented the USA well. I expect them to regroup and continue to produce the same effort in their concluding matches.

They, as well as the athletes that have been part of the USA Rugby Sevens program, will be viewed as trail blazers that have been instrumental in the growth of rugby in the United States.

Place 9-12 Semi-Final: Team USA v Brazil

The USA had their fist attacking opportunity spoiled after Danny Barrett broke and offloaded to Nate Ebner, who was then penalized for holding the ball after being tackled. Brazil cleared, but Folau Niua mishandled the kick. Brazil took advantage as Moises Duque offloaded to Daniel Sancery for a try and a 5-0 lead.
The restart did not go ten, so Niua then took a free kick and Madison Hughes offloaded to Nate Ebner to Carlin Isles for the try.  Danny Barrett added another after the restart that was converted by Hughes and Carlin Isles added a try just prior to halftime for a 17-5 lead.
Brazil attacked early in the second half and had numbers before the USA recovered and defended.  A knock on thwarted Brazil’s attack and soon after a scrum, Carlin Isles added a hat trick try, racing the length of the pitch. Hughes converted for a 24-5 lead.
Brazil thrilled the crowd as Laurent Coulet found a gap and went in for a try that was then converted. USA still had a 24-12 lead.
The USA had another attacking opportunity after Moises Duque was sent to the bin for a high tackle on Madison Hughes. The USA then went through several phases before Zack Test was isolated at the breakdown. Brazil was not able to take advantage and the match ended with the USA winning 24-12.
With the win the USA will play Spain who defeated Kenya 14-12. With no time in the match, Kenya advanced near the try line before Spain won a turnover at the breakdown and kicked into touch to secure the win.
The 9/10th match will be tomorrow, August 11 at Noon ET.

Pool Round 1

  • Australia 14-31 France
  • South Africa 24-0 Spain
  • Great Britain 31-7 Kenya
  • New Zealand 12-14 Japan
  • USA 14-17 Argentina
  • Fiji 40-12 Brazil

Pool Round 2

  • Australia 26-12 Spain
  • South Africa 26-0 France
  • Great Britain 21-19 Japan
  • New Zealand 28-5 Kenya
  • USA 26-0 Brazil
  • Fiji 21-14 Argentina

Pool Round 3

  • France 26-5 Spain
  • South Africa 5-12 Australia
  • Kenya 7-31 Japan
  • New Zealand 19-21 Great Britain
  • Argentina 31-0 Brazil
  • Fiji 24-19 USA

Pool Day 2 Results and Standings

Pool Day 1 Results and Standings

Place 9-12

  • USA 24-12 Brazil
  • Spain 14-12 Kenya


  • Fiji 12-7 New Zealand
  • Japan 12-7 France
  • Great Britain 5-0 Argentina – Extra Time
  • South Africa 22-5 Australia

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad – Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games
1. Carlin Isles 2. Ben Pinkelman 3. Danny Barrett 4. Garrett Bender 5. Zack Test 6. Andrew Durutalo 7. Folau Niua 8. Maka Unufe 9. Chris Wyles 10. Madison Hughes 11. Perry Baker 12. Nate Ebner

USA Starters v Brazil: Baker, Barrett, Bender, Ebner, Hughes, Niua, Pinkelman

USA Substitutions: Isles, Test, Durutalo, Unufe, Wyles

Team USA Rugby Sevens – Traveling Reserves
Nate Augspurger,  Martin Iosefo,  Shalom Suniula

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad – Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games
v. Argentina –Recap L17-14
v. Brazil – Recap W26-0
v. Fiji – Recap L24-19

Placing Semifinal v Brazil W24-12

Preview article: Team USA Men’s Rugby Opens Rio Olympic Sevens Against Argentina

View the Olympic Rugby Squads!

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant