United States national rugby sevens team
|Most caps||Zack Test (62)|
|Top scorer||Madison Hughes (725)|
|Most tries||Zack Test (143)|
|World Cup Sevens|
|Appearances||6 (First in 1993)|
|Best result||13th (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)|
The United States national rugby sevens team represents the United States in international rugby sevens competitions, including the World Rugby Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens, and will represent the United States in the Summer Olympics in 2016. The Eagles also play in regional tournaments, such as the Pan American Games and the NACRA Sevens.
The Eagles have been a core team in the World Series and finished in the top 12 each season since 2008-09. The Eagles' best season to date was the 2014–15 season, where they finished 6th, winning the London Sevens.
Other successes include winning bronze medals at the 2011 & 2015 Pan American Games, winning the 2008 NAWIRA RWC 7s Qualifier to clinch a spot in the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens, and winning the 2015 NACRA Men's Sevens Championships to clinch a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games.
The United States traditionally used the 7s team to prepare players for the XV-side. The national sevens team has also drawn a number of crossover athletes from other sports, such as football and track. Since January 2012, due to increased attention generated by rugby's return to the Olympics in 2016, the national sevens team has turned professional, with the team extending paid full-time contracts to its core players.
- 1 Players and coaches
- 2 Scoring Leaders
- 3 World Rugby Sevens Series
- 4 Summer Olympics
- 5 Rugby World Cup Sevens
- 6 Pan American Games
- 7 World Games
- 8 Previous head coaches
- 9 Other International Competitions
- 10 Honors
- 11 Potential for development
- 12 See also
- 13 References
Players and coaches
A pool of American full-time professional rugby players train year round as a team at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego. The twelve players selected for tournament rosters are generally drawn from this training squad. For special tournaments, however, the U.S. sometimes draws from American players who are playing rugby professionally abroad.
USA Rugby and the U.S. Olympic Committee have made funds available since January 2012 to provide full-time salaried contracts to players. Up until 2011, players had been part-time semi-pro players paid a stipend for their participation. USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville stated that a full-time sevens team is a crucial step as USA Rugby prepares for rugby's return to the Olympics in 2016.
The table below shows the U.S. roster assembled for the most recent tournament. The statistics (events, points, and tries) refer to statistics generated in World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments.
|Head Coach||Mike Friday|
|Assistant Coach||Chris Brown|
|Performance Director||Alex Magleby|
The following tables show the U.S. career leaders in major statistical categories in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
- These figures include only the World Rugby Sevens Series, and do not include other events such as the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
- These statistics are taken from the World Rugby Squad Lists. These are released before each tournament and consequently do not include statistics from the player's last tournament.
Updated: May 23, 2016
World Rugby Sevens Series
The World Rugby Sevens Series, which is played every year from October through May, is the principal event in which the U.S. national sevens team plays. The US has competed in the World Series every year since the event's inaugural 1999–2000 season. The U.S. team had some initial success during the early years of the tournament led by the try-scoring Jovesa Naivalu. However, the U.S. team struggled in the 5 seasons from 2002-03 through 2006-07.
The 2007-08 season was a turning point for the US team, qualifying for 6 of the 8 series tournaments, and notching a notable win against Samoa en route to placing sixth at the 2007 South Africa Sevens. The team was led by Chris Wyles who scored 26 tries on the season, and was the top try scorer at the 2008 USA Sevens with 8 tries. The IRB rewarded the Eagles' success by promoting the US to "core" team status for the 2008-09 season, meaning that the US automatically plays in all 8 tournaments without having to go through qualifying rounds.
The 2008-09 season was the breakout season for the US, finishing 11th on the season. The high point of the team's season was the home tournament, the 2009 USA Sevens. Nese Malifa's 30 points in that tournament helped the US notch wins against Australia and Kenya to reach the semi-finals, their best result ever on home soil.
The 2009-10 season saw continued improvement, with the team finishing the season in 10th place. Led by Matt Hawkins and Nese Malifa, the team finished 9th to win the Bowl in the 2010 USA Sevens. The US then advanced to their first ever Cup final at the 2009 Adelaide Sevens, scoring upset wins against England, Wales and Argentina.
The team took a small step back during the 2010-11 season with a 12th place finish. A number of key players were unavailable for most or all of the season, including the previous season's leading try scorer Nick Edwards and leading point scorer Nese Malifa. Additionally, a number of competing teams had moved to professional status, leaving the mostly amateur US team struggling to keep pace.
The 2011-12 season saw significant changes for the U.S. The team turned professional in January 2012, with contracts for up to 15 players. The change to professional status did not bring immediate improvement. Head coach Al Caravelli resigned, and Alex Magleby was selected as the new head coach. The US finished the 2011-12 season in 11th, a slight improvement over the previous season, even though the team did not reach the quarterfinals of any of the 9 tournaments. Bright spots for the season included the emerging leadership of Shalom Suniula (captain), Zack Test (team leading 21 tries) and Colin Hawley.
The 2012–13 Series saw a slightly different format, with 15 core teams instead of 12, but with the possibility of relegation for the teams that finished in the bottom three. The U.S. got off to a slow start, ranked last among the 15 core teams after the first two legs. The U.S. saw improvement, however, reaching the quarterfinals in five of the last seven tournaments, and finishing in the top 6 during the last three tournaments. The U.S. finished fifth to win the Plate Final at the 2013 Japan Sevens, the first time the U.S. had won a plate since 2001, and followed that feat by again finishing fifth to win the Plate Final at the 2013 Scotland Sevens, with Nick Edwards the leading try-scorer in the tournament with 8 tries. The U.S. finished the season in 11th place, and had two players among the season's top try-scorers: Nick Edwards (20) and Zack Test (18). Coach Alex Magleby stepped down after the season.
The U.S. team fared poorly during the 2013–14 Series under new coach Matt Hawkins, finishing the season in 13th place. Once again, Zack Test led the team with 23 tries and 119 points on the season; other leading scorers included Carlin Isles with 17 tries, including six at the 2014 Wellington Sevens, and newcomer Madison Hughes with 34 goals scored. Hawkins was blamed for the exodus of several veteran players, such as Colin Hawley and Shalom Suniula, and was asked to step down at the end of the season.
The U.S. had its best season ever in the 2014–15 Series under head coach Mike Friday, who was hired, along with assistant Chris Brown, in the summer. The U.S. finished sixth in the series, and capped off the season by going 6–0 to win the 2015 London Sevens, the first time the U.S. has won a World Series tournament. They finished the season on an emphatic note, finishing sixth overall after winning their first-ever Cup at the 2015 London Sevens at Twickenham, punctuated by a blowout win over Australia in the Cup final.
The U.S. began the 2015–16 Series by "shocking the world" when it defeated New Zealand for the first time at 2015 Dubai Sevens. The team beat the 12-time World Series champion in pool play and again in the tournament's third-place match before a third victory in as many matches in the 2015 South Africa Sevens Plate Semifinal.
Season by season
|Series Season||Final Rank||Total Points||Events||Cups||Plates||Bowls||Shields||Leading Try Scorer||Leading Points Scorer|
|2007–08||13th||6||6||0||0||0||1||Chris Wyles (26)||Chris Wyles (130)|
|2008–09||11th||24||8||0||0||0||3||Kevin Swiryn (20)||Kevin Swiryn (100)|
|2009-10||10th||32||8||0||0||1||1||Nick Edwards (17)||Nese Malifa (120)|
|2010-11||12th||10||8||0||0||1||2||Zack Test (24)||Zack Test (120)|
|2011-12||11th||41||9||0||0||0||0||Zack Test (21)||Zack Test (107)|
|2012–13||11th||71||9||0||2||0||0||Nick Edwards (20)||Shalom Suniula (101)|
|2013–14||13th||41||9||0||0||0||4||Zack Test (23)||Zack Test (119)|
|2014–15||6th||108||9||1||1||2||0||Carlin Isles (32)||Madison Hughes (296)|
|2015–16||6th||117||10||0||0||0||0||Perry Baker (48)||Madison Hughes (331)|
|Total||-||-||106||1||4||6||14||Zack Test (143)||Madison Hughes (725)|
|Leading Try Scorer||Leading Points Scorer||Dream Team
|Dubai||December 2015||3rd||4 – 2||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (6)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (30)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker|
|South Africa||December 2015||6th||3 – 3||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (5)||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (59)||—|
|New Zealand||January 2016||T-7th||2 – 3||Isles, CarlinCarlin Isles (4)||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (21)||—|
|Australia||February 2016||T-7th||2 – 3||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (5)||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (30)||—|
|United States||March 2016||4th||2 – 2 – 1||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (5)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (25)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker|
|Canada||March 2016||6th||3 – 3||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (8)||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (48)||Martin Iosefo|
|Hong Kong||April 2016||6th||4 – 2||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (7)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (35)||–|
|Singapore||April 2016||10th||3 – 3||Test, ZackZack Test (6)||Hughes, MadisonMadison Hughes (34)||–|
|France||May 2016||11th||2–3||Test, ZackZack Test (5)||Test, ZackZack Test (25)||–|
|England||May 2016||3rd||3–2–1||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (8)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker (40)||Baker, PerryPerry Baker|
Updated: May 23, 2016
|Olympics||Host||USA Record||USA Finish||Leading Try Scorer|
|1920||Antwerp, Belgium||1–0||Gold||Joseph Hunter (1)|
|1924||Paris, France||2–0||Gold||Linn Farrish (2)|
The United States participated in two of the four rugby XV tournaments held at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 1924. The United States won two gold medals, making it the most successful country in the history of Olympic rugby. Furthermore, as rugby has not been played at the Olympics since 1924, the United States is the defending Olympic rugby champion, with its back-to-back golds in 1920 and 1924.
Rugby will return to the Summer Olympics at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the United States will attempt to defend its title. The U.S. defeated Canada 21–5 in the final of the 2015 NACRA Men's Sevens Championships to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Rugby World Cup Sevens
|1993||Scotland||1–4||17th-T (Group Stage)|
|1997||Hong Kong||4–3||17th (Bowl Champ)|
|2001||Argentina||2–4||13th-T (Plate QF)|
|2005||Hong Kong||2–4||13th-T (Plate QF)|
|2009||Dubai||1–3||13th-T (Plate QF)|
|2013||Moscow||1–3||13th-T (Plate QF)|
|2018||San Jose and San Francisco||TBD||TBD|
Pan American Games
The U.S. has played rugby sevens at every Pan Am Games since the sport was introduced at the 2011 Games. At the 2011 Games, the U.S. lost 19–21 to Canada in the semifinals before defeating Uruguay 19–17 for the bronze. At the 2015 Games, the U.S. again lost to Canada 19–26 in the semifinals and defeated Uruguay 40–12 to capture their second consecutive bronze.
|Finish||Most tries||Most points|
|2011||Guadalajara, Mexico||3–2–1||3rd||Maka Unufe (5)||Folau Niua (41)|
|2015||Toronto, Canada||5–1||3rd||Carlin Isles (6)||Madison Hughes (31)|
|Games||Host||U.S. Record||U.S. Finish|
Previous head coaches
|Coach||Tenure||Best Series Finish||Best Tournament Finish|
|Al Caravelli||2006–2012||10th (2009-10)||2nd (2009 Adelaide Sevens)|
|Alexander Magleby||2012–2013||11th (2011-12, 2012-13)||5th (multiple)|
|Matt Hawkins||2013–2014||13th (2013-2014)||6th (2014 Japan Sevens)|
|Mike Friday||2014–present||6th (2014-15, 2015-16)||1st (2015 London Sevens)|
Other International Competitions
|1986||Hong Kong Sevens||Plate Champions|
|1988||Hong Kong Sevens||Plate Champions|
|1994||Hong Kong Sevens||Plate Final|
|2000||Rugby World Cup Sevens Qualifier – Chile||Qualified for RWC 7s|
|2006||Bangkok International Rugby Sevens||Cup Champions|
|2006||Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens||Cup Quarterfinals|
|2007||Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens||Plate Champions|
|2008||NAWIRA RWC 7s Qualifier||Cup Champions|
|2010*||Digicel Suva Rugby Festival International Sevens||Cup Semifinals|
|2015||NACRA Sevens/Olympic Regional Qualifier||Cup Champions|
* – Played as the USA Cougars
These statistics are sourced from USA Rugby's Database:
Top Three Finish:
- 2015 Pan American Games – Bronze Medal
- 2015 NACRA Sevens – Champions
- 2015 London Sevens – Champions
- 2011 Pan American Games – Bronze Medal
- 2010 Adelaide Sevens – Runner-Up
- 2008 NAWIRA RWC 7s Qualifier – Champions
- 2006 Bangkok International Sevens – Champions
- 2004 NAWIRA Championship – Champions
Potential for development
The country's then national team coach, Al Caravelli, explained the U.S. team's potential in a 2008 interview: "I've found over a thousand athletes that can run 10.2 seconds at one hundred meters and weigh over 200 pounds [91 kg]. I don't know if they can catch and pass yet but if . . . we can attract those types of athletes then we can continue to promote the sport in the United States."
An article in The Guardian in 2014 noted that the inclusion of sevens in the Olympics had greatly expanded funding available to the sport, and that the large pool of American football and basketball players who may be unable to earn professional contracts in the NFL and NBA meant there were many sportsmen who had skills and strengths they could transfer to rugby union.
The U.S. also sometimes fields a developmental team, the USA Falcons, in several tournaments.
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